Adding a junior partner to your practice can add value to your business.
“[Hiring a junior is] going to save you time,” says Joanne Ferguson, president, coach and consultant of Advisor Pathways Inc. in Toronto. “It will allow you to better serve the clients you have.”
Adding a junior partner can help your business only if you go about it properly. Ferguson offers these tips:
> Be patient
Take your time in hiring a junior advisor, Ferguson says, to make sure you find the right fit for your business.
If you hire someone quickly as a kind of band-aid solution, she says, or because you like him or her, you could end up with an advisor who doesn’t actually have the right skill set.
> Know your objective
Consider carefully why you want to add a junior partner for the business.
For instance, Ferguson says, a junior advisor may be the solution if your business has grown significantly and you can no longer handle every client relationship.
Another reason to add a junior partner, she says, is to have someone on your team who specializes in a certain area. For example, you might hire a junior advisor to look after financial plans.
> Consider your junior’s role
Once you have identified your reason for adding a junior partner, consider what role they will fill. For example, will he or she act as a kind of “right-hand person” to you, or will he or she be part of your succession plan?
A “right-hand person,” Ferguson says, would be someone with the same skill set as you — such as dealing with clients and doing reviews — but focuses on helping a particular segment of your clients. This arrangement would leave all final decisions to you while also freeing up your time so you can focus on your top clients and bringing in new assets.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a successor, Ferguson says, you need to craft a three- to five-year plan outlining how this person will be integrated into the business, how clients will be passed to him or her and how and when clients will be informed of your plans.
> Set goals
Measure and monitor your new team member’s process with a set of yearly targets.
Think about what you would like to see happen with the segment of the book the junior partner is responsible for, Ferguson says. For example, how much of an increase in assets or revenue would you like to see over that period? Do you want new assets coming in? More calls to clients?
> Add more than one
Consider bringing on more than one junior advisor to make sure every client receives the appropriate level of service.
Many advisors are trying to do more for fewer clients, Ferguson says. For example, Instead of dealing with 300 client relationships, you can have junior partners working with up to 125 clients each while you focus on your top 50 clients.
“Then, all clients are being looked after,” she says, “and no one is falling through the cracks.”