Revenue Is Down – But Not for Everyone

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My name is Joni Youngwirth, managing principal of practice management at Commonwealth Financial Network, and I am pleased to kick-off the FPA Practice Management Center Blog with a note of optimism! (Learn more about the structure/content of this new blog on the “About” tab at the top of the page.)

2009 has been a doozy. Although the market’s ascent into the 9000s has offered hope, most advisers have experienced a significant decrease in revenue this year.

The last 18 months have certainly been a challenge. Yet financial advisers are quick to profess that there is no better profession than this one—where you get the opportunity to help clients in a positive way with every interaction. I wonder. Have we spent too much time crying in our milk? Did we get too used to easy street? After all, the old adage says: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Through research and analysis, coupled with conversations and discussion, I’ve discovered that there are blips on the screen, or deviations from the norm—advisers who are actually doing better than they were at this time a year ago. It made me curious about what they were doing that led to their good results. So I asked several who have increased revenue by 10–25 percent over the past year about the approaches they followed. Here’s what I learned.

These advisers:

  • Used strategies for managing assets that minimized losses during bear markets. The approaches made their clients stand out when they talked with friends and associates; consequently, referrals to the advisors increased.
  • Positioned new, well-researched approaches that gave clients better benefits than they had earned with previous approaches.
  • Diversified, offering more value-added services, which yielded new revenue streams that they had not pursued before; insurance is the classic example.
  • Engaged pure energy and hard work to pursue more opportunities to network with prospects.
  • Implemented new marketing events or campaigns.
  • Enjoyed the pure luck of being at the right place at the right time.
  • Transitioned from passively accepting referrals to actively asking for them.

I decided to hold a “Voices from the Field” teleconference for individual advisers who are better off this year than 12 months ago to share their stories. What they had to say was inspirational and served to trigger ideas for others.

While most advisers have seen a decrease in revenue, some, in fact, are thriving. If you are having a better year in ‘09 than in ‘08, or have even stayed flat, you have a story to tell. Others want to hear about what you did. Leave a comment to continue the conversation!


Joni YoungwirthJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principle of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.


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