Saturday, May 8, 2010

You'll get by with a little help from your (advisor) friends ...

What a month for industry trade publication content - and for great conferences, too!

David Drucker writes in the May issue of Financial Advisor magazine:

"What advisor networks do for the industry is to train advisors in the one thing they don’t get from CFP and other credentialing programs: Business savvy and processes. If this is what you’re lacking, think about joining an advisor network."

He profiles 3 advisor networks and mentions a couple others. I'm very proud that my firm, Impact Communications, has worked with and is happy to cheer lead for 3 of the networks named in the article - The Garrett Planning Network ( - that's Sheryl Garrett pictured above), Fox Financial Planning ( and Hanson McClain Retirement Network (

By the way, Rick Epple of Epple Financial Advisors LLC in Wayzata, Minn (, who is mentioned in Drucker's article on advisor networks, will be one of 4 panelists who will share the top 3 marketing strategies that buoyed them through the dark days in 2008/09 during a presentation that I'll be leading at NAPFA's national conference in Chicago later this month. I hope to see all my NAPFA member friends and colleagues there - old and new!

If you're wondering "where in the world is Marie Swift" you can find a pretty accurate run down on my website, under Advisor Resources / Event Calendar. I just got back from speaking at 4 wonderful events - the Investment Adviser Association's national conference in Chicago, the National Association of Active Investment Managers national conference in Orlando, the fi360 national conference in Orlando, and the FPA Dallas Fort Worth regional financial planning symposium in Dallas - all in the span of 9 days - whew! I am happy to say I spent today shopping and doing girl-stuff at the mall with my favorite tweener, who ended up buying more stuff for herself than she did for me for Mother's Day (and that's a-okay by me!).

Also, by way of updates, a hearty congratulations goes out to Sheryl Garrett, who after many years of discussion with the Motley Fool finally inked an agreement with this well respected consumer information source. In addition to finalizing the Motley Fool agreement, which should be a real boon for Garrett Planning Network Members, Sheryl was in the May issue included in Investment Advisor magazine's list of the top 30 people in the financial planning profession over the past 30 years - wow!

And speaking of tops ... what a nice surprise to receive the May issue of Financial Planning magazine and see Jim Nagengast, President of Securities America, Inc. on the cover. The cover photo perfectly captures Jim's optimistic personality and the interior content by staff writer Paul Mencheca - The Road Ahead - provides a fair and balance look into the inner workings and executive team at Securities America, one of the big-5 IBDs in the nation and, I am proud to say, a tenured client with Impact Communications. And the companion video, published via Sourcemedia's new AdvisorTV channel, in which Nagengast shares his thoughts on the future not only for Securities America but for the industry as a whole, is a perfect compliment to Menchaca's article.

You'd think that things just couldn't get any better, content-wise this month, but then you'd be wrong (and so would I). Don't miss this month's column in Financial Planning magazine by Bob Veres. In his cover story, A Profession Comes of Age, Veres shares excerpts from his new white paper, The Future of Advice - which should be posted on his Inside Information website and available as a FREE download at by May 15th. I've just read an advance copy and was duly impressed by numerous insights from dozens of industry thought leaders (who Bob interviewed for the paper) and, of course, Veres himself. Until Bob gets the final version of The Future of Advice white paper done and onto his site, I highly recommend you read his article in Financial Planning magazine - and if you are not already subscribing to Inside Information or his Client Articles service, you owe it to yourself to look at those information sources as well.

So, back on the topic of advisor networks and "getting by with a little help from your (advisor) friends"...

Below is an excerpt from the article, which profiles Hanson McClain, one of Drucker's 3 profiled advisor networks. Scott Hanson and Pat McClain are incredibly sharp guys, with 1.2 billion in AUM. The PR Team at Impact Communications is pleased to be working with such a high caliber group! And thanks, Dave, for chosing 3 really good advisor networks to profile in your piece - I'm a big fan of your writing and am proud to be associated with the T3 Technology Tools for Today newsletter and annual conference (


Hanson McClain Retirement Network

If you haven’t heard of the Hanson McClain Retirement Network (, which has been around since 1998, perhaps that’s because it’s somewhat more specialized than either the Sestina or Fox networks. The Hanson McClain Retirement Network is a nationwide network of financial advisors specializing in retirement planning that provides marketing and practice management tools for advisors who want to work with retirees from the telecommunications and utilities industries.

Hanson McClain, an advisory firm with three offices in the Sacramento area, began to work with Pac Bell personnel in 1991 and developed a program that brought a stream of qualified clients through the door. “We built our business off of that,” says Scott Hanson, a senior partner and founding principal at the firm.

In doing so, Hanson McClain developed a model for other advisors to follow. “Part of what makes our model unique, says Hanson, “is that we first become experts at specific companies’ retirement plans. So, if we’re working with Florida Gas & Power, we become experts at that employer’s pension plans, learning all the options their employees have at retirement time.”

Hanson says what differentiates their offering from competitors at larger institutions is that his firm gets involved with the client three to five years prior to retirement. “We help them make financial choices today so they’ll be better prepared for retirement tomorrow. Then we capture their rollover dollars.”

Training with the Hanson McClain network takes the form of a partnership, Hanson says. Training starts with a one-day seminar, followed by a nine-week business plan to get advisors off the ground. The firm formulates the best approach for each partner and customizes the plan from there. Some get weekly calls and some might get onsite visits.

“With 40 employees, we have relationship managers who travel across the U.S. and work with partners in their offices,” Hanson says. “We help our partners market through our relationships with trade unions and other gate-keepers, and we put on marketing events for partners. As their practices grow, we help them in every area they need help.”

Examples can include choosing a CRM, hiring employees, or legal issues they’re dealing with. “We’re not successful unless our partners are successful,” Hanson says.

Partners pay nothing up front. “We invest time and resources on the front end, and we get paid through a revenue share of 20%, which applies to clients they work for who came through our connections,” Hanson says. “If they form new relationships with employers we don’t serve, then they keep all of that income.”


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