Not Dead Yet

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One of the more interesting aspects of the financial advisory industry is the prevalence of prognosticators who predict trouble for the long-term sustainability of independent advisors.  Case in point:  Mark Hurley. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Hurley, he is the CEO of Fiduciary Network, a financing company that provides succession capital to advisors.  Hurley has just released a new white paper entitled, “The Brave New World of Wealth Management.”

In this latest iteration of his consolidation prediction, Hurley argues that, “the wealth management industry is at a crossroads: heightened competition, increasing operational complexity, accelerating compensation costs and the inevitable retirement of many of the industry’s pioneers are poised to reshape the industry.”

As a result, according to Hurley, there will only be 150 mega-firms left standing that will have a systematized infrastructure, be profitable and operationally efficient.   There will be about 2,000 “tweener” firms that have size, but not the scale or systems to make the leap to the mega firms and will be gobbled up by the mega firms or relegated to the 18,000 RIAs that are merely “books of business” that are not sustainable and have no real business value.  The owners of these firms will be forced to work harder for less compensation, with no transferable equity in their firms when they retire or move on to the next phase of their lives.

While there is clearly a self-serving agenda to this type of content, what Hurley is pointing out is an industry problem.  Too many advisors have not developed or invested in the systems, infrastructure, technology and human capital to create sustainable, profitable and enjoyable businesses that can live on beyond the founder.

However, we take a different approach to solving this problem.  Rather than being bailed out by expensive financing, advisors can solve these issues on their own over a relatively short period of time, when provided with a guided system of customizable organized tools and templates to get it done.

For example, in our latest white paper, The Integrated PracticeTM (download it from our home page at we detail a step by step process that advisors can implement to achieve scale, efficiency, profitability and a more personally satisfying experience as a financial advisor. 

To solve this endemic industry issue, the white paper introduces the concept of The Integrated PracticeTM, which is a process of business management that connects all of the moving parts of a firm to create an efficient organization and bring it to life.  The four key areas of The Integrated PracticeTM include systems, technology, practice management and human capital.  While for many firms each of these areas have been addressed as silos, we believe that they should be connected together. 

The concepts and methodologies in this whitepaper are a direct result of the nearly 30 years of experience we have gained in applying them to our own advisory business.   In our daily consulting work with advisors we see many firms struggle with these issues, so it is very motivating for us to build out a set of solutions that firms can adopt so that they can continue to thrive and build valuable businesses, while efficiently meeting the ever increasing demands from their clients.

So, if you find yourself as a “tweener” firm, or worse yet, a “book of business,” don’t despair.  There are solutions that you can embrace to take control of your destiny and not end up in Hurley’s industry dustbin.

Let us know if we can assist you with putting in place a systematized infrastructure so you too can not only be more profitable and operationally efficient, but can achieve a work/life balance for you and your staff and can stand out from the crowd.



Deborah Fox

About the Author:

Deborah Fox is CEO and Founder of Fox Financial Planning Network (FFPN). Deborah has been a financial advisor running her own firm for over 25 years. She is nationally known for her unique planning processes and for instructing and coaching financial advisors on how to work more efficiently in order to free up time and increase profits, all while delivering a higher level of client services.