"To run a successful business, it’s important to take a fresh look now and then to see if you can do better.”- Jeff Johnston
The Premier Investments team, founded by Jeff Johnston and Brock Renner, has made a name for itself by educating the public in its home state via lively and informative weekly radio and TV programs. This is just part of their goal to inspire and motivate people to manage their money actively by creating a personalized financial plan, based on real knowledge. It’s also key to their business philosophy that, even in business, relationships come first.
This community and educational approach is in line with the five-step planning program Premier embarks on with every new client. The first step is to determine whether both parties are compatible by an informal meeting where they get to know each other. This is followed by comprehensive fact finding, from which Premier develops a customized financial profile and plan. Once that is implemented, the relationship continues, with regular communication and adaptations as needed. The fifth step is the ongoing account management and nurturing that Premier promises every client.
Johnston and his team have a unique way of running their advisory practice, and as it’s been working well for close to 30 years, they haven’t been eager to move to another firm. In fact, because their system has served them so well, Johnston and Renner had never really considered making a major change.
As satisfied as the team was with their partners at Cambridge Investment Research, it took some doing on the part of LPL to attract their attention and form a relationship. But as Johnston puts it, “As much as we liked where we were, as a team, we love a challenge. To run a successful business, it’s important to take a fresh look now and then to see if you can do better.”
The team says they were swayed by three things at LPL. The first was the efficiency gains they could expect from the technology and automation capabilities. And indeed, according to Johnston, that part has worked out well, with his staff emphasizing the benefits of e-signatures and easy client access to the new platform.
Research was another big draw; access to the breadth of knowledge and variety of experienced people to learn from at LPL just couldn’t be matched in a smaller organization. As Johnston puts it, “Being a smaller fish in a bigger pond is a good thing for growing and learning.”
Lastly, the team said the service offered by LPL was outstanding, and that it continued through and beyond the transition. Johnston said that the team had four full-time people assigned to help Premier over two weeks, which made the transition smooth, fast and clean.
As Johnston mentioned, it was hard to leave many of their good friends at Cambridge, especially since they thought the firm was a good one. It helped that the business development consultant from LPL used a consultative approach, never disparaging other firms or pressuring the Premier team to make a move they weren’t entirely ready for.
And since the move? “It's been phenomenal, with 70% of our clients moving in the first 60 days,” said Johnston. “The process was much smoother than I anticipated. We’ve had good support and training, are getting more comfortable with the technology every day.”
Now that Premier is partnered with LPL, Johnston and Renner are excited to work with the strategic business solutions group at LPL to explore how they can grow their firm by acquiring other practices. They will also continue to implement the technology and, knowing that the advanced online capabilities will make them more efficient and appeal to a younger crowd that are already comfortable with similar functions.
Working with LPL gives the team much more exposure in the marketplace, providing recruitment opportunities and allowing Premier to grow the business in the way they believe in. And that includes their ever-popular TV and radio outreach. They plan to continue to develop weekly content for radio, TV and video, and use those as well to develop relationships with people online. As Johnston says, “We’re the same people we’ve always been, with a family feeling, an educational approach, and we’re-here-to-help attitude.”
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor(s) are as of the date of publication. These views may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered. LPL Financial and Premier Investments are not affiliates of each other and make no representation with respect to each other.