One of the primary objectives for most financial institution investment programs is to grow revenue. In pursuit of program success, consider these six key steps in your plan:
Incorporate Premium Technology
The right technology tools increase efficiency, credibility, and ease of service delivery to your clients. Look for a web-based account management system that streamlines administration, communications, sales, order entry, and reporting functions. It should also have the capability to add modular tools to improve different segments of your program.
Useful add-on technology modules include:
A home banking integration tool with single sign-on capability
A performance and wealth reporting tool for advisors to get a complete view of clients' holdings
An analysis tool to assess a client's financial situation
An electronic trading platform for customers to place their own stock, option, and mutual fund transactions
Look for technology that fully integrates with your main account management system to create efficiency. Add on modules that require separate logins and do not share data with your account management system just create more work.
Use Efficient Business Processing
The investment business requires daily processing, so use your integrated technology systems to achieve full visibility. Paperless, web-based systems give managers access to address issues. Also, ensure your program allows access to broker-dealer operations staff so they can customize forms to automatically populate for your specific processing requirements and keep the system efficient.
Go Beyond Branch Referrals
Make sure your representatives are trained to work their book of business and deliver a deeper consultative approach for clients. Ask your broker-dealer if they offer advisor training on instituting awareness campaigns to generate referrals. With fewer clients coming into branches, it is also important to provide materials your reps can use to market beyond the branch. Ask for turnkey systems that include targeted marketing campaigns. Pre-approved and ready-to-use marketing resources, including webinars, presentations, and educational materials, provide marketing options that advisors can customize quickly.
Use Development Tools Meant For Financial Institutions
Some broker dealers focus on support and tools for independent advisors. A financial institution works best with partners that fully understand and are completely focused on the goals and pain points unique to financial institutions. Look for robust development tools at the program level – i.e., best practices, tips, training, and marketing materials – that are designed to help programs achieve success.
Hire Experienced Managers And Provide The Resources They Need
When it comes to your investment program, a manager with experience running such a program is the fastest way to reach success. Implement a business plan that ensures they have ample resources and time to dedicate to the advisors and program. Consider a managed program structure wherein your broker-dealer employs and manages the program manager and investment advisors. This may be the most economical way to get the professional expertise necessary to grow the program. If this is not the right fit, find a customized, hybrid management structure tailored for your program.
Build A Profitable Model For Everyone
To be truly successful, an investment program must be profitable for five key constituents: the financial institution, program manager, advisor, broker-dealer, and client. It must be balanced, with full transparency so all involved are able to understand the business model and associated costs. Transparency empowers your team and helps everyone be more effective.
These six steps provide a brief overview of the key elements necessary to achieve growth. Every investment program is different, so it’s important to work with your broker-dealer to formulate a customized plan that complements your financial institution’s unique situation. Using these steps as a guide, assess your program for areas of possible improvement and find a partner that offers the tools and flexibility to help you grow program revenue.
Kevin Mummau is EVP, Program Development for CUSO Financial Services, LP and for Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC, sister broker-dealers that provide investment program services and marketing support for financial institutions.
CUSO Financial Services and Sorrento Pacific Financial
Sister broker-dealers CUSO Financial Services and Sorrento Pacific Financial help financial institutions build successful investment programs. We deliver flexible yet efficient planning, retirement, investment and insurance solutions to boost your financial growth and deepen relationships with your clients. Call 1-800-686-4724 or visit www.cusonet.com and www.sorrentopacific.com for more information.