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A Prime Commonwealth Advisor on Driving Productiveness

Photo Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, with Commonwealth since 2004

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her unbiased advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on employees with a publicly traded firm, she wished to depart large company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was desperate to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a powerful tradition of fiduciary duty to purchasers.

As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time based mostly my enterprise on the elemental principal of treating others as I wish to be handled. My goal is admittedly quite simple: to place our purchasers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every shopper brings to our apply.”

Throughout our conversations, the power of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined by way of. The profitable development of her agency might be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with purchasers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To supply the customized concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has grow to be a grasp of time administration. She has discovered the way to function effectively and collect the mandatory assets to maintain development and construct economies of scale.

If you happen to’re seeking to go unbiased or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the ability of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise decisions may aid you chart the way in which towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term development.

Constructing One thing Particular

For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing shopper relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every individual you serve. So as to develop a top quality apply, it’s a must to make every shopper really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, nevertheless it’s vital to maintain high of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for purchasers by way of on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to offer help, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout troublesome instances.”

A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary purchasers shouldn’t get voicemail once they name, and follow-up to requests and issues should be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t fascinated with “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common critiques to maintain abreast of modifications in purchasers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when creating a plan for a brand new shopper.

The end result? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged group of long-term purchasers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: based on Sullivan-Kreiss, “Nearly all of my agency’s new purchasers come from referrals from current purchasers.”

Spending Extra Time with Shoppers

33 percent data point

As you’ll be able to see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is straight tied to her spending as a lot time as attainable with purchasers. Notably, like lots of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in shopper conferences than different trade advisors. That’s based on a 2020–2021 research performed by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 p.c extra time in shopper conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and unbiased corporations.

In actual fact, based mostly on additional evaluation of the info, Commonwealth’s Observe Administration staff decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the high decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, based mostly on gross income, development fee, and period of time spent with purchasers. This statistic speaks to the vital work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and day trip with the people she serves.

Reaching Scale and Effectivity

So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss in a position to spend a lot time with purchasers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored by way of fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss discovered that having the precise employees and agency accomplice can assist facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.

The facility of your folks. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will give attention to client-facing work. With three full-time employees members (a director of shopper relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is evident on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My staff is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes allows me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my purchasers. Their strengths enable the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level help—the personal touch we dedicate to each shopper.”

In keeping with Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular development has been pushed by her staff’s stability of competencies. And that development has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place extra employees is important. To deal with the quantity of labor and maintain her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and an extra advisor to the staff.

When requested about recommendation for advisors seeking to develop, she states, “One of the productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the precise folks on employees, significantly those that have complementary expertise units to yours.”

The affect of your agency accomplice. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency accomplice. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . it’s a must to domesticate the precise relationships with the precise folks. It’s good to have a accomplice behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”

Like different unbiased advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss appears to her agency accomplice for a wide selection of back-office assets and help. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, equivalent to Commonwealth’s Superior Planning staff, available to speak by way of a fancy planning or retirement drawback.

As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any unbiased agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does an excessive amount of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a shopper is searching for a particular funding technique, she desires to have the ability to depend on her agency accomplice for specialised data. She receives that help from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis staff.

Finally, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency accomplice should be capable of present a “phenomenal degree of help” that’s tailor-made to your wants.

Cementing the Cornerstones of Success

Being an unbiased advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to fully align her agency together with her values and purchasers’ finest pursuits. She’s been in a position to construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one based mostly on placing her purchasers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s targeted on the fun of the current and accelerating much more development sooner or later. Something is feasible together with her imaginative and prescient, a powerful staff, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.

If you happen to’re an advisor eager to go unbiased, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you’ll be able to. As for contemplating a agency accomplice, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however definitely not least, all the time remember that you need to go the place you’ll be able to develop, even when it’s one step at a time.

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