The advisor compensation plans unveiled by wealth management firms this year all have one thing in common: they incent advisors to reach for more assets in new ways. But what we found behind those changes is that one key emphasis remainsthe client.
Whether it is UBS' new rewards for advisors who work with clients to create financial plans, the client transition program at Merrill Lynch that aims to ensure a smooth transition for clients when advisors retire, or a new product neutral payout grid at Raymond James that eliminates incentives to sell certain products, it is also the clients who stand to win new gains.
"A lot of research and polling from clients [tells] us that when they're engaged in a financial planning relationship and they're working toward a plan, they're much more comfortable with the advice that they're getting," Jason Chandler, head of UBS' Wealth Management Advisory Group, says of the motivation behind the changes. "Their satisfaction rates are higher."
This month, we also take a look inside HighTower Advisors, which has been on the receiving end of some high-profile advisor moves. Contributing editor Samantha Allen had an inside look at an advisor's visit to HighTower's home office to see how hires are introduced to the firm.
And for our Five Questions this month, I interviewed Neil Barofsky, former inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, on his experiences during the financial crisis that led to his bestselling book Bailout. Barofsky also shared his tips for how financial advisors can be more watchful when it comes to the financial system.
We also bring new insights on how advisors can work to improve their practices, whether it be through fostering balanced teams (see "The Secret to Team Harmony") or simply putting your best skills first ("Lead With Your Strengths").
As always, I look forward to hearing your feedback at this address.