Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her impartial advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on workers with a publicly traded firm, she needed to go away huge company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was desperate to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a robust tradition of fiduciary duty to shoppers.
As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve at all times primarily based my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I wish to be handled. My goal is admittedly quite simple: to place our shoppers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every shopper brings to our follow.”
Throughout our conversations, the drive of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient at all times shined by means of. The profitable development of her agency could possibly be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with shoppers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To supply the customized concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has grow to be a grasp of time administration. She has realized function effectively and collect the mandatory sources to maintain development and construct economies of scale.
Should you’re seeking to go impartial or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the facility of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise selections might allow you to chart the way in which towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term development.
Constructing One thing Particular
For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing shopper relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every particular person you serve. As a way to develop a high quality follow, it’s a must to make every shopper really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, but it surely’s vital to maintain high of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers by means of on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to supply assist, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout troublesome instances.”
A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary shoppers shouldn’t get voicemail after they name, and follow-up to requests and issues have to be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t excited by “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common opinions to maintain abreast of modifications in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when creating a plan for a brand new shopper.
The outcome? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged group of long-term shoppers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: in accordance with Sullivan-Kreiss, “The vast majority of my agency’s new shoppers come from referrals from current shoppers.”
Spending Extra Time with Shoppers
As you possibly can see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is straight tied to her spending as a lot time as potential with shoppers. Notably, like lots of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in shopper conferences than different trade advisors. That’s in accordance with a 2020–2021 examine performed by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 % extra time in shopper conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and impartial companies.
Actually, primarily based on additional evaluation of the information, Commonwealth’s Follow Administration workforce decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the high decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, primarily based on gross income, development charge, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the vital work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and day trip with the people she serves.
Attaining Scale and Effectivity
So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss capable of spend a lot time with shoppers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored by means of fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss realized that having the proper workers and agency associate may help facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.
The facility of your folks. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will be able to deal with client-facing work. With three full-time workers members (a director of shopper relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is obvious on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My workforce is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes permits me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my shoppers. Their strengths permit the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level assist—the personal touch we commit to every shopper.”
In keeping with Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular development has been pushed by her workforce’s stability of competencies. And that development has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place further workers is critical. To deal with the amount of labor and maintain her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and an extra advisor to the workforce.
When requested about recommendation for advisors seeking to develop, she states, “One of the productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the proper folks on workers, notably those that have complementary expertise units to yours.”
The affect of your agency associate. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has at all times acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency associate. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . it’s a must to domesticate the proper relationships with the proper folks. You should have a associate behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”
Like different impartial advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss appears to be like to her agency associate for a wide selection of back-office sources and assist. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, corresponding to Commonwealth’s Superior Planning workforce, available to speak by means of a posh planning or retirement drawback.
As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any impartial agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does a substantial amount of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a shopper is searching for a particular funding technique, she needs to have the ability to depend on her agency associate for specialised information. She receives that assist from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis workforce.
In the end, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency associate should be capable of present a “phenomenal degree of assist” that’s tailor-made to your wants.
Cementing the Cornerstones of Success
Being an impartial advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to fully align her agency together with her values and shoppers’ finest pursuits. She’s been capable of construct the agency she’s at all times dreamed
of, one primarily based on placing her shoppers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s centered on the fun of the current and accelerating much more development sooner or later. Something is feasible together with her imaginative and prescient, a robust workforce, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.
Should you’re an advisor eager to go impartial, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you possibly can. As for contemplating a agency associate, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however definitely not least, at all times remember that you need to go the place you possibly can develop, even when it’s one step at a time.
The Affect Your Agency Companion Can Have on Effectivity
Discover how choosing the proper agency associate can put time again in your day.