Rethinking the New Account Process for Financial Advisors

Dave Alison on the Pod, Forging the Future, Phil Mickelson Demonstrates Your Value

Hello, from Conference Season! đź‘‹

This week’s Connected comes to you as many in our industry pack up for sunny Southern California. Before we all toss flip-flops into carry-ons, here are a few thoughts for this week’s Connected:

  1. Rethinking the New Account Process for Financial Advisors: A Critical Look into Progress and Pitfalls

  2. Comprehensive Wealth Management Made Simple with Dave Alison 🎧

  3. You’re Invited: Forging the Future - Miami, FL 📍

  4. Mammoth’s Alternative Universe Newsletter

  5. RIA Intel Sheds Light on How Operational Complexity is Preventing Scale

  6. Phil Mickelson on Hiring a Real Financial Advisor

Here we go.

Rethinking the New Account Process for Financial Advisors: A Critical Look into Progress and Pitfalls


Our industry has been through quite a bit over the past three years. The evolution of the TD Ameritrade and Schwab integration has inspired many of us to look up and wonder which direction is right for us.

In this ever-evolving landscape, a lingering issue remains—the new account process. While technology has advanced in numerous sectors, the new account opening procedure at custodian firms hasn’t matured. Often neglected, advisors have shied away from focusing on solving new account opening for a myriad of reasons.

Some of these might sound familiar: It seems ridiculous to try to convince behemoths to care about your firm’s annoyances. It’s an operations issue, not a sales issue, so the pain can be smoothed over without needing as much empathy as it deserves. It’s too complicated to try to nail down solutions.

New accounts are a critical aspect of how you increase your AUM.

While IRAs and standard account types are virtually one lock thanks to modernization at custodians - It's Alts, Insurance, and other providers that require wet signatures that tend to mess everything up.

It impacts your client experience.

It can make or break your team.

In light of all this, financial advisory firms must assess their new account processes critically, particularly when they operate in a multi-custodial environment, manage third-party assets, or are contemplating firm mergers. I want to challenge you to ask five vital questions to refine and improve your new account process.

1. Is Your Process Rogue?

You risk inconsistency and error whenever you don't have a standardized process. Equally important, you can’t scale if everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. Moreover, in the age of acquisitions and firm mergers, having a rogue or inconsistent process can exacerbate challenges in integration. It’s essential to ensure that your process is robust and fool-proof.

2. Is Your Process Consistently Curated?

Financial firms need to invest time in refining and improving their processes. Working ON your business instead of just in your business is the only way to make your business better. This means you not only fix problems when they occur, but you proactively seek opportunities for improvement. Implementing the changes you identify and outline provides consistency in your client experience. This way, no matter who handles the account—whether it's a veteran advisor or a newcomer—every client will have the same positive experience.

3. Is Your Process Digitized?

It’s 2023. Like most of the world, your clients are used to engaging technology for their wants and needs. You don’t have to be Amazon or Google right now, but you're behind the curve if your process isn’t digitized.

A digitized process is not just more efficient; it also reduces manual errors and ensures data integrity. At a minimum, core information should be easily populated and stored in a digital format that can be accessed and processed seamlessly.

4. Is Your Process Moderately Integrated?

Your new account process shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. It should be integrated with other systems—whether it's portfolio accounting, risk assessment, trading, or custodial services. These platforms must work together smoothly to ensure your process is as streamlined as possible. Failure to integrate could leave you feeling stuck and prevent your firm from embracing modern solutions.

5. Is Your Process Complementary to Your Custodian?

Finally, does your process align with the services provided by your custodian? Are you continually updating it based on what your technology providers can offer? A complementary approach will make the relationship more fruitful and will enable both parties to serve the client better.

Mergers and Acquisitions

For firms considering or undergoing mergers and acquisitions, aligning new account processes becomes even more critical. The process you inherit might either be superior or inferior to what you currently have. Therefore, it’s vital to remain agile, continually refining your standardized process to fit the new landscape.

Conclusion and Challenges

If you're a financial advisor, it's time to engage in some weighty introspection. These five questions are not just rhetorical but demand answers that could redefine how effective and client-friendly your new account process is. The onus is on you to either adapt or risk falling behind in an ever-evolving industry landscape.

So, take up the challenge. Assess your new account process, find the gaps, and fix them. Your future in the financial advisory landscape may very well depend on how well you modernize and streamline this fundamental process.

On the Pod

Comprehensive Wealth Management Made Simple with Dave Alison

Episode 010: In this week’s episode of Milemarker’s Connected Podcast, I am joined by Dave Alison, Founding Partner and President of C2P Enterprises and the Founder and CEO of Alison Wealth Management.

Dave shares how advisors can effectively manage a growing business, the five core pillars of holistic wealth management, and the bucket plan and its four-step process.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Advisors should align with a firm that offers a value proposition that resonates with their goals and clients.

  2. The 'three uniques' of C2P Enterprises are the holistic approach to advising, the tax trilogy, and the advisor career path.

  3. The bucket plan provides a simple and understandable framework for clients to organize their assets based on time horizons.

“When we’re sitting down with clients, the more jargon we use, the more 200-page financial plan reports we use, the more confused the consumer is. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

- Dave Alison, Founder & CEO, Alison Wealth Management and Founding Partner & President, C2P Enterprises

The episode is available now on your favorite podcast platform. While there, please don’t forget to Download, Like, and Subscribe.

You’re Invited: Forging the Future of Wealth Management, Miami, FL

Our Forging the Future of Wealth Management event at Bold Monk was so much fun, we decided to do it again.

This time, we’ll be hosting our in-person event in Miami, FL in partnership with Allianz. The event is designed specifically for RIAs, where we will walk through unlocking tangible success for your clients, business and professional journey.

This is another great opportunity to connect with like-minded advisors and industry leaders. Tim Maurer and I will be talking about how advisors can keep up with the increasing rate of change in our industry.

Event Details

When: October, 4, 2023 at 4:00pm EST

Where: TBD in Miami, FL

We would love for you to join us. Save your seat here.

Milemarker on the Road

Catch our team on the road at the following events or cities:

  1. Future Proof - September 11-13, Huntington Beach, CA

  2. XYPN Live - September 18-19, Atlanta, GA

  3. Fearless Investing Conference - October 3-5, Miami, FL

Mammoth’s Alternative Universe

Looking for something else to read? Subscribe to Mammoth’s Alternative Universe Newsletter.

Alternative UniverseThe newsletter for Fund Managers, Financial Advisors and Founders who want to enhance investor experience through collaboration and tech.

RIA Intel Sheds Light on How Operational Complexity is Preventing Scale

RIAIntel did a good job of highlighting some of the key factors we are seeing with RIAs who are looking to scale but are finding key obstacles operationally.

We find that the firms that can get really clear plans in place and identify their definition of success have much higher odds of achieving scale.

Phil Mickelson on Hiring a Real Financial Advisor

When I tell people I meet that I spend my time trying to make the lives of financial advisors better, it’s pretty common for people to not understand advisors. There are plenty of people who think they can do what you do.

But I’ll let Phil provide the difference between doing it yourself and hiring a real advisor.


Hope to see you in person soon!

Written by Jud Mackrill

Edited by Amy Simpson and Kim Mackrill