Partnering for Growth in a New Era

Investment Advisors Corporation:  Partnering for Growth in a New Era

Evolution of the Industry Favors Independence

The evolution of our industry is favoring regional independent firms, Hybrids and RIAs.  An increasing number of advisors are seeking independence from proprietary investment platforms, upgraded technology and better economics.     However, breaking away from the infrastructure many advisors have become accustomed to can be daunting if they don’t have access to resources, technology and staff to make this transition on their own.  Investment Advisors Corporation can offer multiple affiliation options to advisors that can provide more independence and options for their clients, while offloading the overhead of creating their own systems entirely from scratch.   Whether you are seeking office space with infrastructure already in place, or to ‘plug-in’ to IAC’s systems cost-efficiently  with potential for higher revenues, or even developing an investment center within a bank or credit union, we provide expert consultation, technology and transition programs to fit your goals.  From day one we are with you to execute your transition plan including completing paperwork, implementing technology, compliance and training.  Once transition is complete your relationship manager will work one-on-one with you to help you deploy investment strategies designed to deepen client relationships and grow your practice.

Investment Advisors Corporation:  Partnering for Growth in a New Era

Since 1996, IAC has supported our investment advisor representatives in their service of the diverse financial planning and investment management needs of their clients.  As a privately-owned registered investment advisor (RIA), we take pride in providing our advisors with the comprehensive support and tools they need to help their clients achieve their financial goals. Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, IAC is currently registered in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Our experienced home office team currently supports 120+ advisors through a variety of channels, including:

  • as employee representatives of IAC;
  • as independent advisors;
  • through banks, bank trust departments or credit unions;
  • through insurance agencies; and
  • through legal and accounting firms.

For advisors who provide fee-based advisory, financial planning and comprehensive asset management services to individuals, corporations, endowments, foundations, high net-worth investors and other clients we offer:

  • Open Architecture Platforms
  • Responsive Compliance Support
  • Advisor First Service Model
  • Cutting Edge Technology
  • Customized Transition Programs

Open Architecture

 At Investment Advisors Corp. our investment advisor representatives have the ability to choose the products and services that are best suited for their clients. They  have access to a wide range of flexible asset management platforms and investment products, as well as powerful financial planning tools. Our advisors have the ability to do business with various custodians through both advisor-managed and third-party asset management programs. We have agreements with Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Envestnet, Assetmark, SEI Investments and many moreOther services, including brokerage, mutual funds, and insurance, are offered to dually-registered representatives through our affiliated broker-dealer, Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp., member SIPC.

 Responsive Compliance Support

At IAC we understand our advisors have spent years developing a reputation for integrity and service in their business practice. But all that can quickly change with a compliance problem or an unexpected customer complaint. Unanticipated hurdles can be costly, time-consuming and threatening if you don’t have the right partner for support.

We have built a responsive compliance system to protect our advisors and identify potential risks, including: account review and approval, advertising, web and marketing material review, trade surveillance and suitability review, on-site branch audits, complaint resolution and outside business activities.  To protect our advisors we have integrated compliance functions into our technology platform to streamline email and social media monitoring and archiving and best practices training such as firm element continuing education, alternative investment and special product training, anti-money laundering and client suitability training.

Advisor First Service Model

Our team is comprised of executive management, compliance, advisor relations, licensing registration and operations.  Our investment advisor representatives have access to a dedicated relationship manager and advisor resource center to work side-by-side with them to solve challenges and help them grow their business.  Our people have deep industry experience including having been financial advisors and have a keen understanding of the importance of each and every client and their advisor mean to each other.  Whether it’s transition, technology, compliance or operations, the relationship manager will be the ‘quarterback’ in coordinating all these resources to the benefit of advisor and their clients.

Cutting-Edge Technology

My Advisor Toolbox is a solution that helps with everything from the initial prospect meeting through client and product implementation. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive business solution through our technology and home office support to allow the additional time necessary to generate and grow your business, provide  compliance/supervision tools, dashboards, data aggregation, AND weekly commission payouts! Link to Technology Video.

Customized Transition Programs

Changing firms under the best of circumstances is an unwelcome prospect for most advisors.  The need to find balance between best interests of the client and what is best for the advisor and his/her family is paramount.  Our transition team is comprised of specialists who are determined to make the transition transparent to clients and ensure that the advisor and their staff become familiar and comfortable with our personnel, procedures, and resources. Every step of the way, a member of our team will be there to direct the advisor to the key individuals within our firm, follow up on any outstanding items, and guide the advisor in completing the various forms required to transition their business.

We will work to develop a customized timeline and transition plan that will best suit the advisor and their practice;

  • Onboarding, licensing, and registration assistance
  • Timely marketing review and approval
  • Technology integration and implementation
  • Forms, policies, and procedures, providing training, reference materials, and paperwork assistance
  • Onsite visits and online webinars for your transition and training support.

At Investment Advisor Corporation we take pride and strive to provide superior communication and service throughout the transition process and beyond.  We are committed to making your experience with us the best possible.  We look forward to working with you and your business – your way.

The Future of Investment Advice


The Future of Investment Advice

The modern broker-dealer structure was created in the aftermath of the Crash of 1929, as the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 set forth new rules and registration requirements for the financial intermediaries that either were dealers in securities from their own investment inventory, or brokered securities transactions for their clients (including in subsequent decades the distribution of securities products, like mutual funds).  Yet by 1/1/2018, the traditional broker-dealer business model is under threat from the rollout of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which at best will likely reduce upfront commissions and drive a shift towards more levelized compensation for advisors. Unlike some of our competitors, BDFS will be offering the Best Interest Contract as we believe there are circumstances where commission based products are very appropriate for retirement accounts.  A world without commissions is not necessarily death for advisors, the reality is that the non-commissioned RIA segment of advisors has already been experiencing the greatest growth in recent years, and even the majority of brokers have indicated that they think it is reasonable to be required to give advice in the best interests of their clients.  The ongoing evolutionary shift of “financial advisors” from securities product salespeople to actual advisors is creating a crisis for some broker-dealers – after all, in a future fiduciary world where advisors are paid directly by their clients for advice, what is the purpose or need for a broker dealer intermediary at all?

At BDFS/IAC, we are positioning you to survive and thrive by providing tools, resources and business and revenue models to remain relevant for your clients of all ages.  We know you rely on us as your financial intermediary business partner to provide the blue print for building your practice of the future through support platforms that help you achieve success while getting  paid for helping your clients with quality financial advice.  We believe in supporting the Hybrid Advisor Model which is defined as an Advisor that can both provide commission services through a broker/dealer while choosing to leverage a corporate RIA or establish an independent RIA firm that they own, brand and operate for all their fee-based business.

Preparing for Succession

Studies show the average age of an advisor’s end client is 59 and they control 69% of the assets held in a typical practice.  To continue to grow, increase your practice’s value, and prepare your firm for succession it is more important than ever to plan how to broaden your client base.  Too many advisors are looking the other way – potentially missing out on a significant growth opportunity.  Only 16% of advisors report they are in routine contact with the adult children of their clients and see the clients’ children as an opportunity, per the Independent Advisor Outlook Study.  Given that an increasing number of Baby Boomers clients are entering retirement every day it is more important than ever to start cultivating relations with the next generation of your clients.

 Who is the Client of the Future?

Generation X-ers are categorized as resourceful individuals and employees that have a think-on-their feet approach who have been raised in an era of tech and social change, and thrive on flexible work-life balance.  Millennials, graduated into a strong economy, have been marked by previous generations for appreciating work-life flexibility, take pride in their work, are optimistic, have been told they can do anything they want and have the need to feel heard and valued.  The growing desire for advice may be advisers’ greatest opportunity for retirement and retirement-income planning and debt management for the next generation of investors.  Clients are fairly uniform in what makes an adviser “the one” for them, however the most important referral is from a family member or friend and the characteristic they value most is the “ability to translate personal needs into a strategy.”

I have commonly heard people say, “Millennials do not have any money” implying they are irrelevant to our investment world.  However, 70 percent of millennials expect to receive an inheritance in the next 10-15 years.  Further, research shows  the under-35 set may need to question their assumptions about retirement and how to fund it: “Millennials say they plan to quit working at age 59, on average, a full six years earlier than Baby Boomers, who expect to retire at age 65,” according to  Millennials pride themselves in believing in the experience.  Relationships will be a key driver of the RIA differentiation for the next generation of investors.  It will be critical that everyone within your practice knows and understands the need for a more meaningful way to connect with the next generation of investors at every point of interaction to your practice’s value proposition.  In the future, clients of every category expect to enjoy significantly increased online engagement, from scheduling meetings to transferring funds, paying bills and signing and sending secured documents.  This is why BDFS/IAC has invested so much in My Advisor Toolbox technology for your practice and your clients.

What are the Best Practices?

While the type of advice and the delivery of services to individuals has and will continue to change, the demand for personal financial advice and one-on-one advisory services has the potential to increase significantly over the next five years.  Research finds:

  1.  Clients want expanded service models.  Investors of all age groups say they want a full-service relationship, with access to financial planning, investment, insurance and  tax and estate advice from a single source.  If the experts aren’t in your office, we can help you team up with allied professionals.
  2. Clients want account access from anywhere, at any time.  Overall, 83.8% of investors use a smartphone, including 69.3% of investors over the age of 65.  In the fourth quarter we will be offering an aggregated client portal for your clients through CircleBlack.  We are even researching the possibility of Alexa, Siri or other voice control mechanisms that the next generation investors may use to get account performance updates during their daily routines.
  3. Clients want you to help them save.  They are seeking your help to saving for retirement and want you to help them budget.
  4. Fees are increasingly tied to services provided given the evolution toward advice and away from sales.   More and more advisors are considering charging retainers (even monthly retainers that are easy to budget for millennials) and project fees, making their compensation model more aligned with consultants rather than brokers or money managers.
  5. To find new clients, go where they are and that means LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Your ongoing challenge is the ability to translate your client’s personal needs into a strategy and to create a practice worthy of succession as you start thinking about your own retirement.  We look forward to sharing a lot more about preparing for the future of financial advice with you at the IGNITE Annual Advisor Conference on July 27 – 28th!

Lisa Smith, President and CEO Investment Advisors Corp