Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her unbiased 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 depart massive company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was desirous to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a robust tradition of fiduciary duty to shoppers.
As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time based mostly 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 individuality that every shopper brings to our observe.”
Throughout our conversations, the power of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined by way of. The profitable progress of her agency may very well 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 personalised concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has turn into a grasp of time administration. She has discovered methods to function effectively and collect the required sources to maintain progress and construct economies of scale.
For those who’re trying to go unbiased or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the ability of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise selections may enable you chart the way in which towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term progress.
Constructing One thing Particular
For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing shopper relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every individual you serve. In an effort to develop a high quality observe, it’s a must to make every shopper really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, however it’s necessary to maintain prime of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers by way of on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to supply assist, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout troublesome occasions.”
A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary shoppers shouldn’t get voicemail after they name, and follow-up to requests and issues should 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 all in favour of “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common opinions to maintain abreast of adjustments in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when growing a plan for a brand new shopper.
The consequence? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged neighborhood 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 Purchasers
As you may see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is immediately tied to her spending as a lot time as attainable 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 research carried out by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 p.c extra time in shopper conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and unbiased companies.
The truth is, based mostly on additional evaluation of the info, Commonwealth’s Apply Administration workforce decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the prime decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, based mostly on gross income, progress fee, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the necessary work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and time out 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 way of fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss discovered that having the suitable workers and agency accomplice will 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 give attention to 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 dedicate to each shopper.”
In response to Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular progress has been pushed by her workforce’s stability of competencies. And that progress has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place extra 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 a further advisor to the workforce.
When requested about recommendation for advisors trying to develop, she states, “One of the crucial productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the suitable folks on workers, notably those that have complementary expertise units to yours.”
The affect of your agency accomplice. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency accomplice. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . it’s a must to domesticate the suitable relationships with the suitable folks. It’s worthwhile to have a accomplice behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”
Like different unbiased advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss seems to her agency accomplice for a big selection of back-office sources and assist. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, reminiscent of Commonwealth’s Superior Planning workforce, available to speak by way of a posh planning or retirement drawback.
As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any unbiased agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does quite a lot of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a shopper is on the lookout for a particular funding technique, she desires to have the ability to depend on her agency accomplice for specialised information. She receives that assist from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis workforce.
In the end, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency accomplice should have the ability to present a “phenomenal degree of assist” that’s tailor-made to your wants.
Cementing the Cornerstones of Success
Being an unbiased advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to utterly align her agency together with her values and shoppers’ greatest pursuits. She’s been capable of construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one based mostly 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 progress sooner or later. Something is feasible together with her imaginative and prescient, a robust workforce, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.
For those who’re an advisor desirous to go unbiased, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you may. As for contemplating a agency accomplice, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however actually not least, all the time take into account that you need to go the place you may develop, even when it’s one step at a time.
The Influence Your Agency Associate Can Have on Effectivity
Discover how choosing the proper agency accomplice can put time again in your day.