By Jennifer Bacarella, Executive Management, Director of Firm Development
Kindness goes a long way. In fact, kindness defines every part of a relationship. Some believe that only those relationships built during great times are the ones that grow into amazing, spirited, positive partnerships. However, some of the best relationships I’ve ever built came during what I would consider my, or someone else’s, rock bottom.
From a broker-dealer’s perspective, I joke that my reps don’t need me when we are in a great bull market and the economy is booming. Everyone is generally happy during those times. Advisors see their AUM increase. Their client relationships are strong. Clients are satisfied with the growth of their portfolios. Technology is booming, and revenues keep innovation and inspiration moving along.
I think back to 2008 when seemingly no good news occurred in our industry. Everywhere you turned, some story came across the media that made people feel like the “end” might be near. For those of us who went through that time, it was certainly a trying period. I had seasoned advisors who didn’t know if they could go through another bear market – especially one of this length and depth. I had other advisors who felt like staying away from their offices because they just couldn’t “hold another hand.”
Times like those are extremely difficult on reps, and on broker-dealers, as well. Commonly, many broker-dealers start laying people off or cutting back on their services as revenues rapidly decline. At our firm, on the other hand, we answered the calls, provided new ideas, and helped reps build their practices throughout the down years. Clients needed help, and advisors needed back office services to support their providing that help. We actually added staff at our firm in 2008 and the years that followed as the economy struggled to recover. Our phones definitely ring more in difficult economic times. Sometimes people just need someone to talk with … to share their concerns and be heard. Letting our reps know that we are all in this for the long haul goes a long way toward building strong relationships.
Life happens, too – not just the markets. Family issues, health issues, life issues. As independent contractors, our advisors appreciate that when they call us and share a tidbit of information on a challenge they are facing that the tidbit is not only heard, but also travels through the firm. Our management team and staff all see what we can do to let our reps know we are thinking about them.
The best advisors build solid client relationship by helping clients through the ups and downs of life. Their clients can’t imagine not having them as their advisor. We feel the same way about our reps. We let them know, right from the start, that in a world where they may feel independence can be compared to being entirely on their own … with us, they are not alone: we always have their backs!
My dream for the firms this year is for us:
- to grow ever more aware of our advisors’ concerns, professionally and personally;
- to consistently demonstrate our commitment to providing the highest level of service in addressing our reps’ needs;
- to become indispensable to the finest advisors as a responsive, well-rounded back office; and
- to respond to all needs and deliver all service with kindness as our cornerstone.
If you are looking for a broker-dealer where your concerns are heard, and your needs addressed, we encourage you to join us.
Jennifer Bacarella, AIF® is an Executive Manager and Director of Firm Development for Sigma Financial Corporation / Parkland Securities, LLC / Sigma Planning Corporation.