With today’s technology, some may say it’s easy to be a “financial advisor.” There are tools that almost completely commoditize investing. Little do clients know that with tools like Betterment, they could likely do as good a job as you, the financial advisor, managing their portfolio. The power and value of a true financial advisor comes with the advice—and your knowledge, delivery, and implementation of various estate and tax planning concepts.
That being said, here are 8 traits we think most successful financial advisors have:
Asking questions is key to being a successful financial advisor. The more questions you ask, the more information you unearth, and the better chance you have at developing a truly comprehensive financial plan.
While creativity is certainly a bonus characteristic for financial advisors, there’s no doubt that having a somewhat analytical mind is crucial to being successful. A deep understanding of financial planning concepts (estate, insurance, investment, tax, etc.) is important, or if you’re lucky enough to surround yourself with a team of experts, you’ll certainly need to know enough to be dangerous.
The best financial advisors uphold the fiduciary standard. They do not shove products down the throats of their clients, and have their interests completely aligned with their clients’. At AdvicePeriod, we are a planning-first firm, and the vast majority of our revenue comes from fixed fees vs. AUM. We feel this is the compensation structure that is the most fair for us and our clients.
No, you do not have to wear a suit and tie every day to be considered professional (unless you work at a place where this dress code is enforced). Whether “right” or not, a person is often judged by how he or she dresses, as it can be seen as a representation of how he or she works. Professionalism also carries through to the way you communicate and interact with your clients, which is the key to any successful relationship.
Passion translates through your work. If you really care about your work, it shows—and the same goes for the opposite. You remain up-to-date on all facets of the financial industry not because you have to, but because you want to, and you’re eager to learn and continuously look at the work you’ve done for clients with a discerning eye for what can be improved given recent industry developments.
One of the things clients value most in their relationship with their financial advisor is how they can (hopefully) trust their financial advisors to “make” them stay the course, even in times of tempting and emotional market volatility. Therefore, an important trait of successful advisors is to remain even-keeled and emotionally stable and convey that sense of calm on to your clients.
A conscientious advisor is exceedingly competent, organized, and purposeful. With so many potential implications to each part of a client’s financial plan, it is imperative that advisors do not show impulsive behavior, and instead study the situation as a whole, and not quit “until it’s done.”
The client/advisor relationship is built on trust, and being personable can help build this trust. You can continue to draw out of your client important components of their life goals and risk temperament by being warm and positive, ensuring them you will work hard to gain and keep their trust.
Obviously successful financial advisors can encompass a wide array of character traits. We’ve found the eight traits of successful financial advisors above to be particularly important to the most lucrative Partner Advisors that have joined our team. We are always looking for advisors that share our values and mission, so if you’re interested or know anyone who may be a good fit, do not hesitate to reach out to us.