Why independent is targeting intuitive, entrepreneurial advisors

Perspectives have changed and advisors must adapt to their clients' needs, says iA Securities president

Why independent is targeting intuitive, entrepreneurial advisors

Independent brokerages are riding the crest of a wave as we head into 2021 – and iA Securities is no different. President John Kelleway told WP that the company has an opportunity over the next five years to attract top talent away from some of the more traditional corporate establishment.

After discussing organic growth in part one of his interview with WP, Kelleway addressed how the scene is set for independents to make more gains in the next 12 months. An efficient and attractive onboarding system, in partnership with Appway, has been one offering that has helped the firm attract new advisors to the dealer.

He said: “That’s complemented by other digital solutions that our advisors were able to use. Whether that was onboarding a new client, or updating information with existing clients, being able to do that digitally was really important the past nine months.

“We’ve been able to show these tools to advisors who were looking to move. But I was surprised at how many advisors were still reaching out, particularly in the second half of the year. There are still quite a lot of advisors looking for change in our industry.”

Kelleway added that he looks for entrepreneurial traits when deciding who to add to his roster of about 529 advisor teams. He believes intrepid business owners that have the right mindset are the ones who will best succeed within the iA organization.

“We’ve been attracting most interest from individuals that really want to be more intuitive in how they build up their client proposition and have that flexibility,” he said. “Obviously, we're all fitting into that framework of the regulatory environment, that goes without saying, but being able to create your own set of client-centric principles is what our advisors are looking for.

“Obviously, our advisors do some of their own self-branding in their own trade names. That’s something that we encourage and enable. How do they make sure they have that strong value proposition? A lot of what we've been doing has been centered around that entrepreneurial advisor – and that’s where we’re targeting.”

Kelleway also urged advisors to take a step back from the daily grind to assess the environment in front of them and how it’s been affected by COVID-19 and remote working. He beleives it's time to re-engage clients because their perspective is changing and no advisor wants to be left behind.

He said: “My view is different than it was just nine months ago both personally and as somebody who leads this business; we're looking at doing things differently. The end client is looking at things differently as well, too.

“I get the pleasure of speaking to advisors on a daily basis and I'm hearing directly from them about how they're learning and adapting to what their clients are looking for. There is not a one-size fits all; some of our advisors have a community of clients that still want face to face, but then I'm talking to others whose clients are really embracing video conferencing where they don’t have to take a 45-minute drive to go to an office.”

As an advisor, is your technological footprint there to accommodate this switch and what changes do you have to make? Do I have the right CRM that's going to allow me to be digitally forward-thinking? These are the questions advisors and their firms need to be asking, Kelleway believes, especially as we all work out what the “new normal” will look like.

“One of the things that I was really impressed with in the last nine months is our platforms,” he said. “Our systems were very mobile and our advisors through this pandemic were able to adapt to a work-from-anywhere approach.

“We have aspirations to make [the systems] even better but today, an advisor could work from their office, they can work from home and still fully function in opening accounts, managing accounts, doing trades, and having client meetings.”