Two LPL Advisors Share the Why of a Values-Based Approach

Last Edited by: LPL Financial

Last Updated: September 26, 2023

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I only wish I had started this pre-qualification process earlier. I’ve never looked back since.

- Mike Murray, Peabody Wealth Advisors

There’s no shortage of ways for financial advisors like you to build an extraordinary business, but there are some common threads. In a recent study of 175 of LPL Financial’s most successful advisors—the top 10% of earners—we uncovered four common strategies that yield exceptional results:1

  1. Operate like a CEO: Focus on the growth, design, and future of your organization.
  2. Optimize your time: Be efficient and resilient by outsourcing or delegating.
  3. Offer comprehensive advice: Provide holistic wealth services to your clients for every stage of their financial lives.
  4. Build a values-based practice: Infuse your personal values into your business.

While the fourth strategy may come as a surprise, our study revealed some compelling data about its effectiveness:

lead gen

90% of top advisors incorporate their values into their written client selection criteria / financial advisors who take this values-driven approach are 3X more likely to be a top performer]

We also learned that more than 70% of these top advisors felt their business was “highly” aligned with their values, making them nearly 40% more likely to feel that way than their peers. Additionally, nearly 90% have a written value proposition or mission statement that is publicly posted.

Here, we’ll share insights from two of the advisors in our study and take a closer look at what makes this values-driven approach so successful. 

Here, we’ll share insights from two of the advisors in our study and take a closer look at what makes this values-driven approach so successful. 

Michael Crews’ approach to aligning his values and his business

“We look for what we have in common with our clients,” said Michael Crews of North Texas Wealth Management in Dallas, Texas. "What shared values do we hold? For example, my core values are family, service, and giving back, and I look for that in our clients as well.” 

Continued Crews, “We created an advisory board of around 10 clients who embody our shared values and talk through the direction of the practice from this common lens. We've had about 60 clients rotate through this advisory board over the years, helping us stay aligned with our clients’ values and improving the client experience."

Crews and his team also developed an assessment that helps them understand how those aligned values will translate into how clients perceive money and wealth, how their clients' plans need to incorporate money, and what their clients' definition of "success" is.

Mike Murray on introducing values to prospects

"Selectivity” wasn’t a word Mike Murray of Danvers, Massachusetts-based Peabody Wealth Advisors used much early in his career. But now selectivity and matching clients to his firm’s values are central to his success.

“The morale of the team greatly improved after we became more selective about aligning clients with our firm’s values, choosing not to work with prospects who didn’t share our philosophy, and asking some existing clients to find another advisor who may be a better fit for them,” said Murray.

“It took a few years to make sure the practice was financially stable, and we could meet our business obligations like rent and payroll as well as gaining the confidence to have these conversations. But at a certain point you realize that if you let a prospect who’s a bad fit become a client, they are likely to be unhappy, leave the practice, and possibly give negative feedback about you and the firm. It may cost you more in the long run than if you never brought them onboard in the first place.” 

Murray was convinced that they needed to be selective with prospects early in the process to avoid “bad fits” and allow his team to focus on serving the “good fits.” He added, “The initial discovery meeting with a prospective client is crucial. We follow a repeatable process, and I always end the meeting by asking the prospect, ‘What are your expectations of me and the firm?’ I then let them process the question and answer without guiding them in any direction. If their expectations don’t align with our philosophy and values, or if their first questions are about fees and investment performance, I politely say ‘I really appreciate your time, but I don’t think this is going to be a fit for either of us.’” 

His parting advice: Don’t wait. “I want to enjoy going to work and talking and spending more time with my clients and team,” said Murray. “I only wish I had started this pre-qualification process earlier. I’ve never looked back since.”

Defining and evaluating your firm’s core values

Ready to get started? Collaborate with your staff to identify three or four shared values. These are the traits that inform your firm’s culture, decision-making process, hiring practices, and target audience. Among the numerous core value examples online, you’ll find common themes focused on integrity, communication, sustainability, innovation, mutual respect, and so on.

The values you select should reflect your business and the overall experience you strive to create for your staff and clients. Ask yourself the following: 

  1. Do they resonate with you and your team?
  2. Are they easy to understand and explain?
  3. Are they relevant to your day-to-day duties?
  4. Are they consistently practiced by you and your team?
  5. Are they an integral part of your practice’s culture? 

How LPL Financial can help

Whether you’re looking for guidance on how to build a values-based practice, or you’d like to learn more about the other business-building strategies LPL Financial’s top advisors employ, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more. 



1 The top 10% of LPL advisors was determined in terms of Gross Dealer Concessions (GDC) taken from commission data in 2022.

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