I’m not sure about you, but the Garmin advertising campaign excites me every time I see it. It works around the idea of beating yesterday’s performance. As I train for a half marathon, I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s about getting better after several years away from running. Regardless of where your financial services practice is today, you should adopt the same philosophy when it comes to preparing for the new fiduciary and conflict of interest rule.
With more than 1,000 pages of text, the new rule can be overwhelming. At times, I find myself wondering how our firm will be able to adapt to all our interpretations of the rule. But, growth and change happens gradually. I say “by baby steps” on many occasions. You have to beat the previous day. So, what can you do today in order to move the needle forward, if ever so slightly, from yesterday?
First, I encourage you to look at your books of business and review your exposure to the rule. You should be working with your marketing organization or broker-dealer to see how their interpretation of the rule will impact your client files. Segmenting the clients with qualified accounts would be a great start.
Next, I think it is important to look at where you want your practice to be in the next three to five years. There are two main questions I think you have to answer when preparing for the DOL rule:
Are you going to move up market?
Are you going to become more efficient in your current market?
Both are viable options, but how you want your practice to look in the future should dictate how you approach your clients today. If you are moving up market, you will need to begin addressing protection and longevity needs. Or, if other producers are vacating your market, you need to think about how you can capture market share. But you need to think about how you plan to grow your existing business.
Neither one of those strategies happens overnight. You must begin to take the baby steps necessary to gain control of your future business. Think about what you have to do today that will make your life easier after the rule takes effect in April, 2017. You will be glad you prepared.
Adapting to the new fiduciary standards takes time. You can’t jump off the couch and run a marathon. You need to improve little by little. The same goes for preparing for the new rules. Think about how you can improve today in a way that will positively impact your practice after April 2017.
About the Author
Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”
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