There is no “I” in Team

Dave Welty, CFP® | December 15, 2016


I am a huge proponent of the team concept.  Rarely are individual efforts greater than those of the team that surrounds them. This is true in many aspects of our daily lives. I find that when my wife Katherine and I work as a team, the outcome is consistently better.  For example, when our children were younger, they often tried the technique of ‘divide and conquer’– a very successful strategy for the children if parents are not working as a team.

Just last week, a headline came across my phone that read “Thompson Drops 40 Points in First Half Against the Pacers”.  The story was referencing the performance of the Golden State Warriors player Klay Thompson. By the end of the night, Thompson had scored 60 points in just 29 minutes of play, making him the first player in NBA history to do so.  If you stopped reading there, you would have missed that teammate Kevin Durant added 20 points and eight rebounds, while Stephen Curry and Draymond Green dished out 11 points and 10 assists respectively.  Watching the highlight reel showed not only Klay Thompson’s incredible performance but also that of his supporting cast.  Without the assists, steals and tough plays delivered by the likes of Durant, Curry and Green, it’s entirely possible that Thompson’s record setting night might not have happened.  Although Thompson captured the headline that night, it was a complete team effort that helped the Warriors win by 36 points.

Wealth management firms have been slow to adapt to the team approach. Most firms are still run as single silos, or entities within a larger firm. Each advisor runs his or her own business independently. The business is about an individual, not the team. What happens when the advisor gets sick? Goes on vacation? Or just has an ‘off’ day?  More importantly, this doesn’t even begin to address the issue of succession planning. Because most advisors are older, you may find that right about the time you retire and most need your advisor, he or she is looking to retire as well.

More progressive firms like Avier have adopted a team approach to better serve their clients.  Typically, the client is matched with a lead advisor who holds one or more of  the CFP, CPA, or CFA designations. The team would also include an Associate Advisor (someone on track to become a lead advisor) and a Client Service Associate.  Larger firms tend also to ‘cross pollinate’ their teams. This means that Lead Advisors work with various Associate Advisors and vice versa. This allows for a greater transfer of knowledge across the firm and further enhances the team approach.

Here’s the beauty in this approach: Whenever a client has a need, there is always a team member ready to help, ready to serve the client with whom the client already has an established relationship.  Sick days – no problem; vacation – no problem. Your lead advisor may grab the headline from day to day, but it’s the supporting cast that makes the experience possible.  With Avier’s team approach, the client always gets the “W”.

Posted by Lars Phillips on December 15, 2016