What Would Bezos Do?
Meeting with those who lead the Broker-Dealers of the Year is both an awesome and daunting experience. It’s a chance to really dig into today’s industry trends.
But it also reveals a host of topics that warrant lots of further
exploration and more space than we can provide in a single issue.
Where to begin? That was the main challenge the editorial
team faced as we went through the transcription of a full-day
session of interviews and exchanges.
Thankfully, the four executives who joined us in Chicago
recently engaged in lots of back
and forth, which made for a very
lively and educational conversation throughout our day together.
They also were good sports about
responding to our trial “lightning
round” of questions.
Best of all, the four BD leaders
didn’t shy away from the tough
questions, such as how to attract
younger clients and young talent.
Like the broader wealth industry, the search is on for ways to
innovate and demonstrate that the business is fresh — and isn’t
just made up of those who resemble “your parents’ advisor.”
As Cambridge Investment Research CEO Amy Webber
explained: “We need to listen. It’s about listening. The answers
are out there, or at least the beginnings of them.”
Webber shared that she spoke with an intern after they had
listened to an advisor panel; most of the panel members were
around 60 years old. “The young lady crossed her arms, looked
at me and said, ‘I will never do business with any of those
people, because they don’t understand us.’”
The executive then related this “wow” moment back to the
question of how to respond. “We have to listen to the market.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos always listened to what he was being
told by the market,” she said.
That’s what popular author Simon Sinek spoke about on
stage this summer at Pershing’s INSITE conference, when
he was interviewed by our columnist Mark Tibergien, head
of Pershing Advisory Solutions. Advisors can build success
with clients of all ages by looking at what firms like Southwest
Airlines and Ritz-Carlton do — namely, treat clients well.
Sinek, for instance, says he met and chose not to work with
several advisors who failed to ask him “about who I am and
about my mentality [about money]. Talk to me differently and
in metaphors, not a spreadsheet,” he explained. “Now I have an
accountant who talks in pictures and metaphors. He listens.”
Now is the time to listen, Tibergien says, especially when
it comes to young advisors and staff. “The financial services
industry is struggling to be rel-
evant to recent graduates, career
changers and people returning to
the workforce after raising kids.
The gap is most acute among
women and people of color who
are seeking other professions or
other types of companies,” he
said in this month’s Formulas for
Success column, “When People
“Many young advisors, operations and service people
bemoan the lack of opportunity for personal and professional
growth. We all know, when you stop growing you start dying —
as a business and as an employee,” Tibergien explained.
As he sees it, the industry’s leaders — and advisors — should
make a commitment to their employees that is “as great as
[their] commitment to clients.” This approach fosters an
environment of cooperation, education, inspiration and fulfillment, which are the very things many of today’s younger,
diverse individuals are looking for in the workplace.
It certainly seems to have led to enthusiastic loyalty and a
five-star client experience at Southwest Airlines. I’ll never forget the airline ticket agent who helped me with a luggage issue
after my father had died. What made the difference? Listening.
As Cambridge Investment
Research CEO Amy Webber
explained: “We need to listen.
It’s about listening. The
answers are out there, or at
least the beginnings of them.”
By Janet Levaux