FA-IQ turned to consultants and asked: What is one piece of advice you would give to young consultants entering the industry?
Jon Ekoniak is the managing partner of Bordeaux Wealth Advisor. Based in Menlo Park, California, Ekoniak has been in the financial services industry for 12 years. His firm’s customer assets are $4.1 billion.
“For prospective FAs considering wealth management, the number one piece of advice is to make sure this is the right industry for you. As a financial adviser, you potentially direct an individual’s financial future, so you have tremendous responsibility in that role,” Ekoniak said.
“There are very few things that are as important to a family as their total wealth, especially when you consider how hard they probably worked to amass it.” Second, it must be determined whether it is a job or a career. When it comes to a job, there are many financial consulting firms that need tactical employees. To determine if this is a career for you, here are some questions to think about:
- Do you manage your finances yourself now? (Do you keep a budget, prepare an asset report, file your own taxes, do research and make informed investment decisions, etc.?)
- Do you really care about the outcome of people’s financial lives? ([For example,] Do you take her calls on weekends?)
- Are you a lifelong learner? (Are you constantly reading and researching topics you are passionate about? Are you passionate about personal finance?)”
Luke Neuman is wealth planner at Crestwood consultant. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Neumann has been in the industry for nine years. His team’s client assets total $200 million.
“Be part of a company that really cares about their customers! You’ll learn more, become a better advisor, and probably have more fun doing it. Businesses that care about their customers will have high growth and retention rates – keep that in mind when evaluating your job openings. Perhaps most importantly for young consultants, these firms care more about the consultants they introduce to their clients, which means you’re more focused on your professional development,” Neumann said.
“Once you are hired, you can empathize with your customers! Your customers are great people who look to you as their trusted advisor. You have to earn this trust through hard work, honesty and expertise. You don’t need to know everything – but you need to be prepared to solve any problem they come to you with and support the customer effectively. Being an empathetic advisor isn’t always an easy task — but it’s rewarding and can give back more than you invest,” he added.