Coffee Talk with Tom Daley, CEO of The Advisor Center
Tom Daley is the founder and CEO of The Advisor Center, a unique web-based community that is changing the face of financial advisor recruiting. Daley has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and founded the company in late 2012 after years of recognizing how difficult it is for advisors to explore available options to them.
The Advisor Center is the only solution in the industry that provides a centralized, objective place where all opportunities available to a financial advisor are equally presented. The firm’s online model empowers the advisor to create an anonymous profile, protecting their true identity. A proprietary messaging system allows advisors to engage with companies, remaining anonymous until a sufficient comfort level is achieved to share confidential information.
We sat down with Daley to discuss current trends in the industry, how his firm is changing the game, and why PR and marketing are an often overlooked part of the transition process.
Q: You’re quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of starting The Advisor Center. What’s your overall outlook on the company after its first year? What are some of your goals leading into next year?
A: We’ve seen 35,000 individuals visit The Advisor Center in a little more than nine months since we launched last December. We’ve now successfully seen 10 financial advisors go through the entire process and successfully affiliate with new firms. These figures are validating our mission to advocate on behalf of financial advisors and offer them a starting point in their transition process, as well as to provide them with access to a universe of opportunities they may not otherwise consider.
When financial advisors experience what we have to offer on The Advisor Center platform, they always say that they wished they had discovered us sooner. Delivering our message and reaching more financial advisors is where we will be spending our time and capital in the coming months.
Q: What makes The Advisor Center unique? What advice would you give to reps who are considering a change?
A: The Advisor Center is the largest centralized community of broker-dealers, custodians, RIA firms and branches in the financial services industry. We are also the only place where financial advisors have complete control over their own due diligence process, can efficiently research offerings, and engage completely anonymously. The financial advisor no longer has to go to six or seven different websites to request information and essentially put their resumes out on the street.
After over 25 years in this industry, my main point of advice would be to control your confidentiality and maintain your anonymity. Whether you are talking about an independent or employee scenario, maintaining complete discretion over you due diligence is critical to ensuring their next move is the right one.
Q: What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing when it comes to financial advisor movement in today’s market?
A: More than ever before, financial advisors are seeking affiliations with firms that help them have more client-facing time and activities, with less manual operational functions and tasks. This is the biggest trend we’re seeing today.
Q: What are some areas that an advisor often neglects during a transition?
A: All too often financial advisors look to what’s familiar to them, rather than looking at other possibilities and different business models. A well-executed transition should start with a properly developed strategy, followed by comprehensive due diligence, and ultimately, a blueprint for transition. Another area that is often overlooked is related to the branding and positioning of their new firm. How will prospects learn of your new firm? What is your company messaging and vision? Have you thought about what mechanism will best reach your new target audiences?
Often advisors concentrate primarily on the nuts and bolts of maintaining their current client base. While this aspect is an integral business driver, so is laying the foundation to market the new business to existing and potential clients.
Q: How have PR and marketing helped establish The Advisor Center’s presence in the industry?
A: PR and marketing are helping us tell our story – and it’s a disruptive one. We are trying to change the way advisors look for new affiliations and how the firms searching for talent find it. This requires more than just a headline or flashy advertising.
Our comprehensive and integrated approach has a lot of moving parts and having strong partners like the KCD PR team to work seamlessly with our marketing department has been a key component of our early success. This will continue to be a crucial partnership for us as we work to equip financial advisors with the tools they need to discover a wide universe of opportunities that align with their business goals.