What Type of Assistant is Right for Your Firm?

Betsy Abney, Wealth Management Academy Assistant Advocate
December 26, 2018

The right wealth management assistant can often hold the key to success for a wealth management firm. Finding the right assistant to play this role at your firm doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

By identifying the skills and qualities your firm is looking for early on, you can pinpoint the perfect fit for your firm, creating a better experience for both you and the assistant.

Four Critical Steps when Hiring an Assistant

  1. Define the role.
  2. Determine the skills and attributes desired.
  3. Find the perfect fit.
  4. Create a culture champion.

A wealth management assistant can take on several different roles within the firm, depending on what your needs and expectations are. The first step in finding the right wealth management assistant is to define the specific roles and responsibilities of the position and what capacity you want the assistant to serve within the firm. The role a wealth management assistant plays often falls into three types:

  • The Office Backbone: This would be a wealth management assistant that serves as an assistant, providing the basic administrative support needed such as customer relationship manager (CRM), setting up client meetings, creating client paperwork, preparing reports and other operational tasks within the firm.
  • The Shining Star: This wealth management assistant offers more than your basic administrative and operational needs by handling more of the administrative financial services work. Oftentimes, they are the primary client contact and ensure the accuracy of information on account applications and other wealth management forms. They also work as a liaison with other financial institutions such as the broker-dealer, custodian institutions, mutual fund companies, money managers and insurance companies.
  • The Mover and Shaker: An advanced wealth management assistant can become the operational and administrative leader for the firm. This allows the firm’s partners to meet with clients and manage relationships. Their job scope stretches beyond the traditional administrative work, and they are responsible for special projects such as event planning, marketing and compliance. These assistants oftentimes find themselves in a leadership role among other assistants and provide training and education to their peers.

After identifying what type of assistant it is that you’re looking for, you must define the skills that they need in order to be successful at your firm. Technology, organization and people skills are essential to consider when hiring an assistant.

In an industry where regulations, processes and technology are ever-changing, it’s important to hire an assistant that is technologically savvy and can manage the firm’s utilization of technology. They will need to be able to learn quickly and adapt to a fast-paced environment.

Another key skill in a wealth management assistant is organization. Wealth management assistants are responsible for making sure that all the moving pieces of each client meeting are taken care of in a timely manner. Without organization, important tasks can be overlooked leaving clients with a poor experience.

Aside from technical skills, a wealth management assistant must also have a customer-centered attitude. They often serve as the first point of contact that a client encounters and therefore, must make a positive impression on everyone they come to meet. Without the willingness to help others, it is difficult for an assistant to thrive. A wealth management assistant is often seen as the glue that holds the firm together. They not only serve as the connector between the firm and the clients but they also connect internally the wealth management and the CPA sides of the business.

As you firm grows you may find that you need more than one of these types of assistants to keep you on track.  Your first assistant may grow into the Shining Star or Mover and Shaker supporting your firm in all operational and administrative functions. To continue to grow your client base and serve your clients well, you may find you need more than one or two assistants.  Assistants support your client relationships and prepare all your paperwork and reports for client meetings while rush and escalated issues are handled by your senior assistant, allowing advisors and partners to concentrate on time with clients.

1st Global recognizes the importance of proper training for assistants. That is why we have created an extensive assistants training program, 1st Start, which includes both online and live training to help introduce new assistants to critical systems and the resources available to them. We also provide progressive ongoing education to assistants on a monthly basis, as well as assistant-specific breakout sessions at our major events, Communities and National Conference.

Hiring the right operational and administrative leader as your wealth management assistant can often hold the key to growth and success for a wealth management firm. Take the time to plan and hire the right wealth management assistant to help grow your firm.

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