Around the Web with RIA Ideas

A few great reads from the month of February, highlighting some of the key conversations we’re having with advisors. Growth, technology, investment design, outsourcing, recruiting, compliance…all are key discussion points for RIA firms and we share the following for your own discussions:

Before hunting for new clients in the name of “growth”, advisory firms would do well to consider who they want to serve and how they plan to serve them. A Vince Lombardi-inspired read from Julie Littlechild on remembering the basic fundamentals of winning.

We desperately want to do it all and be a hero to our clients, colleagues, and family. Greg Menefee reminds us that we CANNOT effectively be everything to everyone, and empowering others really empowers ourselves to leverage our strengths where it really matters.

Finding prospective clients can be hard, and finding the right clients who appreciate the uniqueness of your offering can be even harder. Why not build and feed a virtual platform that is uniquely you, and tells a compelling story differentiating you from your competitors? Michael Kitces applies lessons from a best-selling book for a master class in narrowcasting.

This narrowcasting platform can also serve as the beginning of earning trust and loyalty. As Josh Brown writes, this key piece of the relationship is not an event but an ongoing process of earning investor loyalty requiring consistent, clear communication.

Diversification is said to be the only free lunch in finance, but 2015 left just about every investor starved for returns. Great set of graphics here from Resolve Asset Management shows how even perfect foresight led to pretty lame outcomes.

The TDA National LINC Conference was great, and focused heavily on growth and the integration of open-architecture technology into an advisor’s practice. A few perspectives from Adhesion and beyond.

A good advisor should hire themselves for planning and investment management, right? Seems obvious, but Bob Veres points out a few reasons why engaging an outside professional may be a better solution.

The upcoming DOL legislation is the great unknown for the financial services space, with “suitability” and “commissions” being replaced by “fiduciary” and “fees”. Michael Kitces chronicles the history of the broker-dealer model, and how firms would be wise to adopt a business model built upon the delivery of objective advice.

Innovation is great until it isn’t. The proliferation of novel ETF ideas has created the illusion of improvement, but can lead to complex, illiquid, overlapping allocations where simple, liquid, clearly-defined solutions may serve investors better. 3D Asset Management writes here on the dangers of complex design.

Growth-oriented firms are constantly thinking about the right team for the future. Financial Advisor magazine reminds us that the process of hiring and managing people is not to be taken lightly.

At some point, all successful business owners wrestle with capacity issues that directly impact the client experience. As the business evolves, which areas are most ripe to be handed off? TD Ameritrade shares a very cool infographic on Maximizing Your Resources as an advisor.

We all know this, but it never hurts to be reminded that working with the right clients and right colleagues are common elements to building a successful investment firm. Ben Carlson shares some common sense wisdom from an old interview with Charlie Ellis.

Adhesion continues to work behind the scenes in helping advisors grow, with new options allowing the integration of Outsourced CIO implementation via Mercer and robo technology via Riskalyze. We welcome your feedback at, and encourage you to subscribe on the upper right of this page to receive our regular blog updates.


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