Part 2: How Financial Advisors Have Evolved

We know that change is happening all around us. And rationally, we know that change affects us on a daily basis. Whether that change is a new professional opportunity, a personal milestone, or even a challenging setback. We process the change, react to it, and likely take some action as a result.

What we might not always realize, though, is how much these small daily changes compound over time and influence who we are. Our values and priorities. Our hopes and dreams. Our worries and concerns. Our professional goals. Our outlook about the future.

Absent of the big industry shifts or the environmental factors, if you think about the ways you have changed personally and professionally, you may realize that the whole way you would position or describe yourself is completely different than it was even a few years ago.

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An interview with a financial advisor

We’ve had the opportunity to talk to many financial advisors over the years, so to illustrate the progression of many advisors in the industry, we’ve distilled our insights into the following hypothetical scenario.

Think back to when you started your career as a financial advisor. Imagine if your alma mater reached out for an interview — part of a “Where are they now?” series for their alumni magazine — and the interviewer asked you why you chose your career and what you hope to achieve. Naturally, you have your answer ready:

“Growing up, my family never had professional financial guidance, so I saw firsthand how challenging and stressful financial discussions — and big decisions — can be. As I learned more about finance, I realized this could be a great career for me. I want to make it easier and more accessible for families to benefit from sound advice that’s best for them. Right now, I’m learning more about the industry, growing my own base of clients, and working closely with them to truly understand their needs, worries, and goals. I want my clients to know they can rely on me.”

Richard Hill

Hopefully, something about that message resonates with you and why you chose this vocation. And while that driving motivation ideally hasn’t waned over time, it might have evolved.

Let’s say you started out working directly for a big firm, and after several years of building up a client base, you decided you want to run your own financial practice and go independent. The alumni magazine series is ready for its next installment, and the interviewer is eager to hear why you made this change — and how it’s influenced the way you view your career.

“My purpose is to serve my clients. And I think I can better serve them when I’m calling all the shots and running my practice my way. I want to grow my business in the coming years, but make sure I’m able to give the same level of personalized service to my clients that they’ve had from the beginning. And long-term, I’d love to build a successful business that I can eventually sell to another advisor who shares my values—and that’s how I’ll secure my future.”

Laura Dix

Adding “business owner” to your job description is a big change. Especially when you consider your main purpose is still to serve your clients. So while your core values of helping your clients and maintaining close relationships with them haven’t changed, you’ve realized you could do that even better if you were responsible for the way you run your practice. You’ve also adopted a new priority, thinking more specifically about your future and what ultimate retirement might look like.

Let’s look at one more turning point. You’ve been running a successful practice for 10 years. It’s grown through referrals—and thanks to that marketing consultant you hired in year two—and shows no signs of slowing down. On the 10th anniversary of launching your independent firm, you naturally agree to a follow-up interview (the alumni magazine has gone digital but it’s still widely read!) to share how your perspective has evolved over time—and what’s next for you and your practice:

“I’m thrilled with the success of my firm and truly honored that so many people have put their trust in me to manage their financial well-being. And I couldn’t do it without my great team — but we’re still a relatively small team. We’ve grown faster than I projected, and I’m doing so much work behind the scenes that I don’t have as much time for my clients as I’d like. I want to maintain those relationships I’ve had for the last 10 years and deepen these newer ones. I’m always a financial advisor first, but now I’m also a business owner and leader. It’s time for me to get some additional support, so I’m going to outsource some business activities, so I can spend my time where I want—with my clients, and then home with my family.”

Jim Miller

You were a financial advisor. Then an independent financial advisor. And ultimately, a financial advisor, a successful business owner, and a leader. And although there were some big turning points — memorialized by your series of interviews — the change was happening consistently. Your priorities, goals, and values were continuously evolving. Even if you never looked back and shared that progress and those milestones.

It’s amazing how dramatically you can change when it feels like nothing is changing.

The cycle of change

Just as your individual path and goals have been influenced by the industry shifts and evolving environment through the years, so has our purpose at LPL. But even more so, our progression has been determined by yours.

From the beginning, LPL has been shaped by a desire to serve independently-minded financial advisors and put them in the best position to serve America’s investors. Your challenges, needs, and opportunities drive our evolving business model today and for many years to come.

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.

Compass Financial Group, Legacy Financial, Miller Financial Group, and LPL Financial are separate entities.