We surveyed 63 financial advisors from across the country, from all kinds of FA shops (wirehouses included), from all levels of seniority and experience, and when asked what career advice they would give to less experienced FAs just starting out in the business, the overwhelming message was: Narrow the focus of your practice.
"It is irresponsible to try to be all things to all people," said Gregory Kurinec of Bentron Financial Group in Naperville, Ill. Instead, develop your own niche so you can focus your practice on one group.
"Stand for something, create a solution that works for some of the people all of the time, then figure out a way to package it & sell it to those people," said Bill Kelly, founder and president of Kelly Financial Services.
Young professionals know other young professionals, just like retirees know other retirees. In a business that's all about referrals, focusing on one group will help you gain a broader client base.
Here are some examples of different focuses that financial advisors we spoke with have developed:
-- Joshua Hatfield Smith, a Raymond James financial advisor and VP of SPC Financial in Maryland, and Joseph Kapp, principal at Burkholder, Kapp & Associates in Washington, DC, work mostly with GLBT couples.
-- John Going, CFP with Going Brothers Financial, represents young physicians and their practices.
-- Anita Eisthen, founder of Labrador Investments, LLC in Cincinnati, works mostly with retirees.
-- Jason Crowley, investment advisor at Buckhead Investment Partners in Atlanta, works mostly with young professionals, entrepreneurs, and professional athletes.
-- Billy Peterson, president of Peterson Wealth Services, of Raymond James Financial, has primarily clients that participate in horse racing.
-- Steve Thompson, founder of the Michael Carter Group, an office of Skylight Financial and MassMutual, represents families with special needs.
Write to Kelly Eggers or Jeremy Greenfield