FA Magazine May 2023 | Page 17


By Philip Palaveev and Mark Schoenbeck

Examining The Organic Growth Paradox

Older and younger advisors likely have conflicting attitudes about marketing .


NDEPENDENT ADVISORY FIRMS ARE A BIT LIKE TEENAGERS . THEY know they are likely to grow , but they ’ re not sure when or by how much . And they don ’ t know why they grow slower or faster than others .
Our firm works with hundreds of advisory practices , and we often see founders hoping that the next generation of professionals on their teams ( we call them “ G2 ”) will bring more new client relationships . But that wish often goes unfulfilled .
In a small and unpublished survey we conducted during a recent workshop , a group of advisory founders rated their own business development skills ( using a score of 1 to 5 , with 5 being “ excellent .”) While most of the founders rated themselves a 5 , they rated the partners who joined them later a full grade below at 3.9 and employee advisors at 2.8 ( which is lower than even Philip ’ s college GPA ).
The founders we work with badly want to help their younger colleagues build these skills , but they often struggle to find the right approach , mainly because they aren ’ t even sure how they do it themselves . Most firms still don ’ t consistently track their own growth measures beyond basic revenues and assets , so their business building comes from intuition , not data .
The younger advisors are meanwhile waiting for their firms to train them on this business development — and in a more systematic way . But most firms lack such systems .
According to an industry survey ( the “ 2019 Financial Performance and Compensation Survey ” published by Investment News and produced by the Ensemble Practice LLC ), only 21 % of firms gave their professionals any structured business development training . Most firms said they used “ informal training ,” which