How to Build a Successful Practice by Swimming Against the Tide

Sometimes, you may encounter an idea or opportunity that hasn’t yet been adopted by the mainstream, but you just know that it makes sense. Having the vision to know when something makes sense for your practice or your clients even though it isn’t yet mainstream in your field is a quality that can separate the average advisors from the exceptional ones. Today’s guest – an early adopter of ETFs – has insights to share about the importance of knowing when to swim against the tide. 

Keith Matthews is a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Tulett, Matthews & Associates. He has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and is a Chartered Investment Manager. For close to 25 years, Keith has been working with his clients to deliver leading-edge wealth management strategies to help his clients reach their long-term goals. Listen to the episode to hear Keith talk about why he decided to become an advisor, what attracted Keith to ETFs in the early days, and how clients respond to Keith’s book, The Empowered Investor.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Why Keith decided to become an advisor (3:22)
  • What attracted Keith to ETFs early on (5:57)
  • How Keith approaches advising and serving his clients (12:08)
  • Why doing taxes for clients gives you an edge (15:53)
  • The role of Keith’s book in the client acquisition process (21:17)
  • How Keith leverages software at his practice (32:11)
  • Advice for new advisors (40:11)

Links and Resources: 

Tulett, Matthews & Associates

The Empowered Investor

Quotes From the Show: 

“All of the early advisors that were doing this knew it made sense, knew it was the right thing, knew it was very friendly for clients.” 

“The idea of at least understanding tax sensitivities is huge for an advisor, and it’s a huge value-add for clients.” 

“If a client buys into all the following things and wants to have the sort of comprehensive approach that we’re dealing with, wants to be engaged, is serious, wants to see themselves reach their goals, and subscribes to the investment approach, then I think we’ve got a really nice connection.”

With an expansive career in the industry, Keith has become an expert on ETFs and passively managed strategies. His knowledge and experience can help you evaluate your processes, no matter what career stage you are in. 

Below, we’re discussing three key ideas from today’s episode: 

  • How Keith Pioneered the use of ETFs 
  • How to Set Up Clients for Success with a Thorough Onboarding Process
  • Keith’s Advice for New Advisors

To listen to the full episode, use the link at the top of this page, or find us on iTunes or Stitcher.

How Keith Pioneered the use of ETFs 

When Keith began his career in the financial services industry, he worked in a bond trading position at the institutional level. As he began to understand the way financial performance was being measured, he realized that there were a lot of institutional firms that were not performing at the level they boasted. 

It is then when he started thinking about serving individual investors by delivering wealth management services and building portfolios using asset allocation strategies and attaching those strategies to underlying ETFs. When Keith began this practice in the 1990s, he was swimming against the tide- going against other firms marketing different approaches as the “secret” to successful long-term investing. 

Keith continued pursuing this new approach because it made sense for both the advisor and the client. The business model allowed the advisors to have the time to focus on the things that their clients cared about the most: Do I have enough money to retire? How can I optimize my taxes? Are we on track to meet our financial goals?

By pioneering a model that put client needs first, he was able to build a successful practice and implement an approach that has since grown in popularity. 

Hint: Want to learn more? Check out Keith’s book, The Empowered Investor, which outlines 8 key investing principles in a way that anyone can understand.

How to Set Up Clients for Success with a Thorough Onboarding Process

When it comes to serving clients, Keith starts the relationship with a strong onboarding process that allows the advisors and the clients to get to know one another. 

They begin with a discovery meeting, which can last up to an hour and a half, where there is no presenting from the firm – only listening to what the clients have to say. They learn who the clients are, what their goals are, and what they wish to accomplish by working with a wealth planning team. At the end of the meeting, they do a deep dive into the client’s financials to understand where they’re at at. 

If both parties feel like the fit is good, then they move on to a proposal meeting, in which Keith and his team inform the prospective client on how the firm operates and what investment approaches they take. 

As a result of this comprehensive process, Keith is able to work with clients that are serious about the process and that want to be engaged in it. An educated client will get more out of financial planning services because of their level of involvement, their accurate understanding of expected returns, and the trust that is built with their financial advisor. 

Hint: Interested in learning more about the importance of client education? Check out Episode 54 with Sasha Djurdjevic, where we discuss how he approaches educating his clients.

Keith’s Advice for New Advisors

After 25 years in the industry, Keith has one key piece of advice for aspiring financial advisors: to find the services that you love and put a lot of energy into those strategies. The more passionate you are about the way you are investing, the more likely it is that you will find success with clients. 

For young advisors fresh out of college, Keith recommends joining a firm and finding a philosophy that you identify with. There are many opportunities at firms for those that work hard, and they are a good place to begin your career. 

For more seasoned adults looking for a career change, whether they take an entrepreneurial route or join an existing team, as long as they find an approach that fits and put client needs first, they will be set up for success.

Listen to the full episode to hear how Keith utilizes financial planning software at his practice, and how his clients and colleagues have responded to his book. You can listen to the episode at the top of this page, or you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to make sure you never miss an episode.