How advisors can lead with purpose


Several advisors recently spoke about what it takes to lead a purposeful business and how amplifying their impact provides a strong advantage to their firm.

As it turns out, there are lots of ways to do so.

“When purpose is a key driver and not just profits, the focus shifts from financial [key performance indicators] to fulfilling a long-term vision of doing good,” said Juli Wilder, head of growth at Thrivent Advisor Network. “Positive impact, positive team climate is really important. Culture is intentionally crafted and cultivated, and team members feel really encouraged and motivated to share their own talents with others.”

On Oct. 12, InvestmentNews hosted an Advisor Insights Lab sponsored by Thrivent Advisor Network. With speakers from Mission Wealth, Parable Wealth Partners and Advent Partners, the panel discussed engaging and important topics and provided ways advisors can increase their impact and build a profitable, purpose-driven business.

“There’s a war for new talent and it’s real,” Wilder said. “Being a purpose-driven business gives you a strong advantage, but you have to live it and breathe it.”

She added that statistics show that 90% of employees at companies with a strong sense of purpose say they are motivated, are more inspired and remain loyal to the company. Increasingly, young people are also demanding that this be a part of work culture.

Nearly 80% of college grads want to work for companies with good environmental practices, which is a generally a strong indicator of being a purposeful business, Wilder said.

How does one start a purpose-driven business? According to Thrivent, advisors should have a clear business purpose, such as a mission statement. The other approach is to amplify your impact with the clients, starting with focusing on clients’ fulfillment and peace of mind.

“Every business I’ve talked to shared that they’re spending most of their time on the peace of mind and fulfillment levels more than they were maybe five years ago,” Wilder said. “That really starts with client conversations.”

One of the resources mentioned in the webinar for advisors looking to amplify their impact is pro bono services. Katie Hammer, vice president of development and communications for the Foundation for Financial Planning, said that in a survey the foundation conducted, 70% of CFP professionals agreed that financial advisory firms should encourage and support advisors who do pro bono service.

“They see pro bono service as valuable to their workplace culture and professional development,” she said. “In fact, our research found that 99% of advisors would be motivated to do pro bono based on the satisfaction that they get from helping people in need.”

Hammer also said that many advisors, especially younger ones, believe pro bono also helps them develop a range of soft skills that they use in their broader careers. “Eighty-one percent of CFP professionals under 35 said pro bono improved their communication skills. Pro bono is a great way to get younger advisors more used to working directly with their clients.”

Another resource advisors should look to is the chartered advisor in philanthropy program, a three-course graduate level professional designation and certification offered by the American College of Financial Services.

Jamie French, wealth advisor and co-owner at Advent Partners, said the program taught him how to go deeper with clients.

“What I felt that really brought to the table was how to have the conversation around purpose and generosity with clients, how to discover their values, what’s important to them, how to understand their goals and what strategies make sense to help them maximize their resources and the giving they want to do,” French said.

Wilder said employers should look to the causes their clients and employees care about to maximize their purpose.

“Be intentional about tracking with nonprofits your clients are most engaged in. Work directly with those organizations to build ways to deepen their engagement,” she said. “By looking at your purpose, and what your clients and employees find valuable, you’re going to be putting your time, resources and energy into the right place.”

To view a recording of the webinar, click here.

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