36 INVESTMENT ADVISOR OCTOBER 2020 | ThinkAdvisor.comare younger, usually haven’t had time to accumulate assets,may have their own careers and don’t have children.”
A Youthful Focus
But younger professionals also have common financial issues,and many advisors target this age group, too. For example,Amy Irvine, CEO and founder of Rooted Planning Group ofCorning, New York, focuses on Gen Xfemale attorneys.
It was “happenstance” that she zeroedin on this fairly narrow niche, Irvinesays. Earlier, she’d worked with attorneys under a great deal of stress and thendecided to spin off to provide financialplanning to mid-career lawyers.
A Gen Xer herself, who’s been in thebusiness 26 years, Irvine felt comfortablewith the focus on women and attorneys. “I really enjoy working with them. They’re organized, very knowledgeable andbusy,” so they need to outsource their financial planning, theCFP explained.
“Their personalities also can be similar, in that they are verydetailed and communicate [well],” Irvine added. In fact, thatcommon parlance even simplifies the description of how shegets paid, since they understand billable hours and retainers.“Attorneys get it. We don’t have to explain,” she said.
Katie Brewer, CFP and owner of Your Richest Life inDallas, also gravitates toward Gen X and Gen Y high incomeearners, usually physicians and business owners. When Brewer started inthe business, the company she was withlargely worked virtually, so she kept thatarrangement — which is attractive to heryounger clientele.
“A lot of clients appreciate it,” she said.“For example, a doctor with a day off canmeet with me over Zoom and include hiswife while at home.” Plus, the pandemicdidn’t alter her business plan as her clients already were acclimated to virtual meetings.
Niche advisors also believe it’s easier and very effective todo marketing when focusing on a specific group. To reachdivorced women over 50, Chen markets to centers of influence, who are mediators and lawyers handling divorces.
“I can market in a systematic way,” he said, and thus largelygrow his business through referrals. Chen also charges by the hour.
Brewer, who’s been in the business for 16 years, markets bygenerating content on topics that her Gen X or Gen Y investorsface — such as juggling multiple financial goals, selecting theright asset allocations in employee retirement savings plans orflipping a house. It’s all done via her website and social media.
She gives her clients the option of an assets under management or retainer/fee payment arrangement.
For her part, Irvine also relies on referrals, as well as workswith legal organizations like Ms. JD, a nonprofit organizationthat promotes women in the legal profession. The group hostsonline programs for networking among women lawyers forwhich Irvine’s done financial planning presentations. In addition, various bar associations now include financial issues intheir wellness programs, and these forums give her the opportunity to share her knowledge and get more referrals.
What Makes a Successful Niche
During a virtual seminar this summer, Koltin ConsultingGroup CEO Allan Koltin, CPA, shared an overview of whatprofessionals like CPAs and financial advisors need to do toadopt or add a niche business to their practice.
There are common fundamental questions for any size firm toask when they want to focus on or add a niche practice, according to Koltin, who spoke at the American Institute of CertifiedPublic Accountants’ Personal Finance Planning event in July.
Some of these questions are:
• Why would this be a good service for clients?
• Why would the firm get into the area?
• How will they get there?
• Do they have the passion to become the “famous” personin the niche?
Also, Koltin is often asked about the most profitable niches. His answer: “What are you passionate about? Because if you’re just goingthrough the motions, you probably won’thave much success,” he explained.
Many firms today partner with otherprofessionals, such as attorneys, to fulfill the needs of a niche, and they utilize social media platforms to “broadcastthought leadership,” speak at conferences, join roundtable discussions and makesimilar efforts to get the word out and become a niche expert.
While such activities can prove beneficial to firms movinginto a niche, advisors also have to be very systematic and strategic in their partnerships — and do their homework, Koltinsays. He points to a firm in Madison, Wisconsin, that wantedto grow a niche of clients with family businesses. The groupdecided to align with a local law firm and the University ofWisconsin and then held educational events focused on financial issues affecting family businesses.
After a few years, the firm had 200 clients in the area, andthe partner who headed up the niche became a family businessexpert. “It was a simple idea that focused on an opportunity inan underserved area,” Koltin said.
Ginger Szala is executive managing editor of Investment Advisor. Shecan be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.