Part of the due-diligence process for most advisers is the home office visit.

These visits afford advisers the opportunity to meet with home office product specialists and drill down into the details of the prospective firm's product offerings. This is a critical step for advisers in helping determine if the prospective firm is a good venue for them to serve existing clients and build their businesses.

Most of these visits also include sessions with the prospective firm’s senior management. Advisers need to recognize that while home office product specialists and senior management are presenting their firm to the prospective new adviser, they are also sizing up the potential new hire.

Senior managers who are impressed with the caliber of a prospective adviser and their business will often show more flexibility in the kind of offer that they will approve.

Often, senior managers consult with the product specialists and department heads with whom the adviser recruit met, prior to crafting an offer. They want to get a composite picture of how desirable a hire the adviser recruit may be.

If the consensus is that that the adviser would be a truly superb hire for the firm, senior managers will often allow the local branch manager more latitude to extend a more compelling offer.

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In one recent case, we introduced a producer whose assets were slightly less than the amount required at his production level to a major wirehouse. He wanted an improved schedule of bonuses for delivering assets built into his deal because he would owe money to his current firm if he left.

The centerpiece of this adviser’s business was retirement planning. He had larger accounts, and his well-crafted retirement planning process drove his investment program.

While he was kicking the tires at the prospective firm, he presented his investment program to the home office staff in an articulate and cogent manner.

The home office staff and senior management with whom he met were so impressed that the branch manager was able to get a deal approved that addressed his issue. The deal was one that normally would have been reserved for a larger producer.

Advisers who can generate enthusiasm from product specialists and senior managers that they meet during their home office visit can reap big rewards.

Mark Elzweig

Mark Elzweig

Mark Elzweig is president of executive search consulting firm Mark Elzweig Co. in New York.