Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her impartial advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on employees with a publicly traded firm, she needed to go away large 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 powerful tradition of fiduciary accountability to shoppers.
As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time primarily based my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I want to be handled. My goal is de facto quite simple: to place our shoppers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every consumer brings to our follow.”
Throughout our conversations, the pressure of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined via. 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 offer the personalised concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has grow to be a grasp of time administration. She has discovered learn how to function effectively and collect the mandatory sources to maintain development and construct economies of scale.
For those who’re seeking to go impartial or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the facility of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise decisions might enable you chart the best way towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term development.
Constructing One thing Particular
For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing consumer relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every particular person you serve. So as to develop a high quality follow, you need to make every consumer really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, however it’s essential to maintain high of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers via on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to offer assist, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout tough instances.”
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 fascinated by “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common critiques to maintain abreast of adjustments in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when creating a plan for a brand new consumer.
The end result? 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: based on Sullivan-Kreiss, “Nearly all 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 instantly tied to her spending as a lot time as potential with shoppers. Notably, like a lot of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in consumer conferences than different business advisors. That’s based on a 2020–2021 examine performed by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 % extra time in consumer conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and impartial companies.
In actual fact, primarily based on additional evaluation of the information, Commonwealth’s Observe Administration crew decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the high decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, primarily based on gross income, development price, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the essential work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and time out with the people she serves.
Attaining Scale and Effectivity
So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss in a position to spend a lot time with shoppers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored via fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss discovered that having the appropriate employees and agency associate can assist 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 employees members (a director of consumer relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is evident on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My crew 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 enable the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level assist—the personal touch we commit to every consumer.”
Based on Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular development has been pushed by her crew’s stability of competencies. And that development has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place further employees is critical. To deal with the amount of labor and preserve her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and an extra advisor to the crew.
When requested about recommendation for advisors seeking 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 appropriate folks on employees, significantly those that have complementary abilities 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 all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency associate. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . you need to domesticate the appropriate relationships with the appropriate folks. You might want to have a associate behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”
Like different impartial advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss appears to her agency associate 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, resembling Commonwealth’s Superior Planning crew, available to speak via a fancy planning or retirement downside.
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 quite a lot of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a consumer is on the lookout for a particular funding technique, she desires to have the ability to depend on her agency associate for specialised information. She receives that assist from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis crew.
Finally, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency associate should have the ability to present a “phenomenal stage of assist” that’s tailor-made to your wants.
Cementing the Cornerstones of Success
Being an impartial advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to utterly align her agency along with her values and shoppers’ finest pursuits. She’s been in a position to construct the agency she’s all the time 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 along with her imaginative and prescient, a powerful crew, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.
For those who’re an advisor eager to go impartial, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you may. As for contemplating a agency associate, 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 wish to go the place you may develop, even when it’s one step at a time.
The Impression Your Agency Associate Can Have on Effectivity
Discover how selecting the best agency associate can put time again in your day.