Survive and Advance: The March Madness Mentality

Survive and Advance: The March Madness Mentality

If you know me, you know March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. I love that the regular season, conference championships, or even talent of the team doesn’t matter once the tournament begins. Rather, what truly counts is how effectively the teams use the “survive and advance” strategy to play the next six games.

With all of the recent changes in our industry due to the U.S. Department of Labor ruling, “survive and advance” certainly applies. Many industry experts continue to spew complaints, as the rulings’ requirements are undoubtedly burdensome and difficult to administer. But instead of stagnating under the pressure, we need to adapt the “survive and advance” mentality – most importantly, we need to advance.

To advance your business, you should adapt this mentality in three areas: 

  1. Fiduciary Standard – As a financial professional, you must consider how to survive in a fiduciary role. Although many of you have already reached this standard with parts of your business, adapting your entire client base to that level may be difficult, timely and costly. You’ll need to change your business model and learn to become more efficient. However, these issues should be corrected and improved – with or without government requirements – to enhance your business. With the right mentality, these changes will not only help you survive, but also lead you to thrive. 

  2. Technology – Think of ways you can incorporate technology to improve your everyday practices and remain at the forefront of advances as they come. The true key to any change as a result of the DOL rulings will be how we advance with technology – as an industry and as financial professionals. Our banking industry competitors are able to move funds with the click of a cellphone camera. Yet, we still require timely paper signatures to move assets between carriers. Our current technological status and distribution methods will not attract millennials to invest in our business. 

  3. Client Experience – In a fiduciary world, it’s ultimately the client experience, not the rule itself, that will determine who will be successful. If you can improve the client experience and attract new, high quality prospects, you will survive and advance. However, if you fail to step up your game, you will quickly fall behind.


Winning Strategy

Embrace the “survive and advance” mentality. Adapt to the specifics of the DOL ruling, but also think about advancing and thriving in your practice.


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.