We’re looking to engage more members of the credit union and educate them on the service that we can provide.

- Karen Benedict, Northwest Financial Advisors

Opportunities that helped this financial institution create a thriving investment program

Northwest Financial Advisors had a vision for growth – to transition to an advisory business. Their strategy included finding and developing financial professionals that shared the credit union’s vision, leveraging financial technology for more efficiency, providing more events, and listening to their members to learn how they can help meet their clients’ goals.

The result? They earned the trust of their advisory clients who have, in turn, referred others to the Northwest Financial Advisors team. In this video, Karen Benedict shares how the credit union’s partnership with LPL continues to evolve to provide Northwest Financial advisors the services and support they want to better serve their clients.

Karen Benedict: I enjoy the challenges every single day. I enjoy watching people grow in their positions. So we really were kind of at the forefront of transitioning to an advisory business, and that's really helped us over the years. And so the key I think, first of all, has been to make sure we hire advisors that see our vision and are built into our culture. And we've also been promoting advisors from within as well. So we've had some client service assistants that have been able to be promoted from within, and so they're able to see how we do things internally, grow, and learn the processes internally.

Those advisory clients are much more deep relationships. And then with those relationships, we've been very successful the last few years in bringing in additional assets. Those clients come back to us, and as we meet with them, we've gained additional inflows from those clients. But also, those clients have been our lead source of referrals. The last couple years we've seen that our existing clients have been our top referral source because of the deep relationships we've built with them. And so that really speaks to the trust that they have in us that they will refer additional clients to us. So we've had record breaking inflows the last couple years because of those referrals.

So this past year we made technology one of the core initiatives in our planning session, and we hired an advisor development manager. And her role has primarily been two things. Number one, to onboard new employees into the firm and make sure we have a really good onboarding process so that they're successful within the firm. But the second piece was to make sure that we leverage the technology that we have efficiently. We have a lot of technology we use within the firm. A lot of it's integrated within LPL's ClientWorks platform, and we wanted to make sure that all of the employees were using it so that we could not only provide a better client experience, but also gain some efficiencies within the office. And it's been hugely successful. This past year with the addition of the advisor development manager. She's been training on Meeting Manager, and so we started to see the adoption of that. It's been very helpful for running the client's annual meetings as the CSAs have been able to leverage that tool to help prepare for the client meetings.

We need to increase our penetration into the credit union. So the penetration rate is the percentage of clients of ours that are members of the credit union, and we obviously want to have as many members of the credit union as possible be clients of ours. And so we're looking to try to engage more members of the credit union and educate them on the services that we can provide and hopefully have them become clients of ours. We're doing more events, more seminars, more webinars to the membership to try to look for different ways to reach the membership to try to increase penetration as well. It's a challenge. It's always a challenge, but we're going to keep working at it.

I think that absolutely there's a desire for financial advice. I think more people are looking for that. They're not looking for the sale anymore, they're looking for that deep advice, and I think that's where we succeed because we've always been doing that. For years, we've been providing that holistic financial advice. We do financial planning for a lot of our clients, and I think it's really important, and when clients come to our advisors for annual client meetings, they're looking at that plan, they're making edits to that plan, and it's a good conversation to have to see what has changed in their life. The conversation really needs to be about their goals and are they on track to meet those goals, not about what's the market doing today or tomorrow. It's, are you on track to meet your goals, regardless of the variations within the market?

I work very closely with the relationship management team and they provide a great support to me. It's very hard sometimes with everything that's going on to figure out who you need to speak to and you have challenges within the office. It's a fast moving environment. So they are a very good support to me to give me in the right direction, answer questions for me and make sure that I have the necessary contacts that I need to provide the service that I need. I think one of the biggest challenges for us is being an RIA with an institutional services channel, which is a little bit unique, so that's kind of a challenge for us specifically probably. And I know that as time evolves that LPL will continue to provide more services for us in that space. So I'm very excited to see what the future holds for us and how LPL can support us in those needs.

LPL Advisor Profile

Karen Benedict

The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor(s) 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. 

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC

Northwest Financial Advisors and LPL are separate entities.

Tracking # 1-05343562

Grow Your Institution

Capital City Investments shares how LPL Institution Services has helped them enhance profitability.

The Self-Clearing Advantage

Learn how LPL helps you save time and money with self-clearing services.

LPL Technology

Many financial institutions look to LPL to help them expand their tech stack.