Published October 4, 2017
As I went to my third charity event of the season last week, the Invest in Others Awards Gala, which recognizes and honors financial advisors who give back in their communities and across the globe, I was reminded of an aspect of the financial advisor industry that is often forgotten; the importance of community.
Community comes in a few fashions – where you live, where you work, the passions you have, the schools your children go to, the sports they play or you play. All of these communities are critically important to one’s unique life but some are extremely valuable to the success and satisfaction of a financial advisor and his or her practice. The benefits are just rarely explored and hard to quantify.
The two that I believe have the greatest impact on the life of an independent financial advisor are his or her own local community and the broker-dealer or custodian that the advisor chooses to affiliate with. These are the communities that an independent advisor will spend the most time involved in and will likely make the greatest influences on his or her life.
Let’s start with the community in which you live. I know many advisors who participate in local charities that help make a difference. One of PAG’s very own advisors, Gerald Denney, Piedmont Wealth Management was a finalist in the awards gala I mentioned above. He started his own organization to help feed the local community, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. He saw a need and came up with an idea to help others. Not only does he help the folks who need the food, but he provides a way for his friends, neighbors and residents to volunteer their time to give back. What Jerry receives from this engagement in his community is threefold; the satisfaction of knowing he is helping others, connecting with people in his community, and although it is not a direct goal – his business also gets recognized and enjoys the benefits of increased brand awareness in a positive light.
Equally as important is building a community where you work. There have been countless studies that indicate that feeling like you are part of something, and have friends, improves your satisfaction in the workforce. Nowhere can this be truer than in the independent financial advisor community. Since most independent advisors are just that – independent and working either alone or in small teams, one of the greatest benefits of working with a firm like Private Advisor Group is the sense of community that is evident among our network of advisors. Multiple PAG survey results prove that our advisors rank this as being extremely important when thinking about their affiliation with us, and we score high marks in this area. PAG works hard at creating and sustaining community for our advisors. Just last week, we hosted a box suite at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, for twilight races. Attended by over 20 local advisors, it was a fun activity with advisors that may not benefit from being in a large hub for independent financial advisors.
“We greatly appreciate the fact that PAG came to us. It goes a long way in establishing that connection for us with PAG and with other PAG advisors locally,” said one of the advisors from Indiana that drove an hour to join the event.
To help further with this effort, PAG hosts conferences, events, study groups, webinars and monthly calls for advisors to help with engagement and community building. We have been told that “PAG makes LPL small” for them. This sense of community helps advisors feel like someone has their back, advocates for them, cares for them and gives them the opportunity to share ideas and best practices with one another.
While being an independent advisor is a gratifying and rewarding career, it can also be one that isolates. A strong community, whether locally or professionally, can go a long way in fulfilling an emotional need.
In the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community.”