A Prime Commonwealth Advisor on Driving Productiveness

Photo Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, with Commonwealth since 2004

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her impartial advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on workers with a publicly traded firm, she wished to depart massive company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was desperate to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a robust tradition of fiduciary duty to purchasers.

As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time based mostly my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I want to be handled. My goal is basically quite simple: to place our purchasers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every shopper brings to our observe.”

Throughout our conversations, the power of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined via. The profitable progress of her agency might be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with purchasers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To offer the customized concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has turn out to be a grasp of time administration. She has realized how one can function effectively and collect the mandatory sources to maintain progress and construct economies of scale.

When you’re trying to go impartial or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the facility of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise decisions might enable you to chart the best way towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term progress.

Constructing One thing Particular

For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing shopper relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every individual you serve. With a view to develop a high quality observe, you need to make every shopper really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, however it’s necessary to maintain prime of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for purchasers via on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to supply help, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout tough occasions.”

A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary purchasers shouldn’t get voicemail after they name, and follow-up to requests and considerations should be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t curious about “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common opinions to maintain abreast of adjustments in purchasers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when growing a plan for a brand new shopper.

The outcome? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged neighborhood of long-term purchasers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: in response to Sullivan-Kreiss, “Nearly all of my agency’s new purchasers come from referrals from current purchasers.”

Spending Extra Time with Shoppers

33 percent data point

As you may see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is instantly tied to her spending as a lot time as doable with purchasers. Notably, like a lot of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in shopper conferences than different business advisors. That’s in response to a 2020–2021 examine carried out by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 % extra time in shopper conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and impartial corporations.

In truth, based mostly on additional evaluation of the info, Commonwealth’s Follow Administration workforce decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the prime decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, based mostly on gross income, progress fee, and period of time spent with purchasers. This statistic speaks to the necessary work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and time out with the people she serves.

Reaching Scale and Effectivity

So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss in a position to spend a lot time with purchasers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored via fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss realized that having the proper workers and agency accomplice might help facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.

The facility of your individuals. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will deal with client-facing work. With three full-time workers members (a director of shopper relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is evident on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My workforce is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes permits me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my purchasers. Their strengths permit the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level help—the personal touch we dedicate to every shopper.”

In keeping with Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular progress has been pushed by her workforce’s stability of competencies. And that progress has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place extra workers is critical. To deal with the amount of labor and preserve her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and an extra advisor to the workforce.

When requested about recommendation for advisors trying to develop, she states, “One of the crucial productive issues you are able to do is empower your individuals and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the proper individuals on workers, significantly those that have complementary abilities units to yours.”

The influence of your agency accomplice. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency accomplice. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . you need to domesticate the proper relationships with the proper individuals. You must have a accomplice behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”

Like different impartial advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss seems to her agency accomplice for a wide selection of back-office sources and help. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, reminiscent of Commonwealth’s Superior Planning workforce, available to speak via a posh planning or retirement drawback.

As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this function is an ongoing problem for any impartial agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does quite a lot of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a shopper is searching for a selected funding technique, she needs to have the ability to depend on her agency accomplice for specialised data. She receives that help from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis workforce.

Finally, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency accomplice should be capable of present a “phenomenal degree of help” that’s tailor-made to your wants.

Cementing the Cornerstones of Success

Being an impartial advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to fully align her agency along with her values and purchasers’ finest pursuits. She’s been in a position to construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one based mostly on placing her purchasers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s targeted on the fun of the current and accelerating much more progress sooner or later. Something is feasible along with her imaginative and prescient, a robust workforce, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.

When you’re an advisor eager to go impartial, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you may. As for contemplating a agency accomplice, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however actually not least, all the time take into account that you need to go the place you may develop, even when it’s one step at a time.

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