Building a Successful Practice That Is a Good Fit for You

Advisors need to be able to help their clients meet not just their short-term goals, but also their long-term wealth management goals, and that means building strong relationships with clients and having a clear understanding of their needs and priorities. Today’s guest has built a successful practice doing just that.   

Daryn Form has built a successful financial advisory business over the past 20 years. In 1999, he earned the Certified Financial Planner™ professional designation. In 2011, he earned the Canadian Investment Manager (CIM™) offered by the Canadian Securities Institute; this professional designation is required to be licensed as a discretionary portfolio manager in Canada. Daryn uses a scientific process-driven approach to investing—along with his breadth of experience and knowledge in wealth management and advanced financial planning—to help his clients achieve their financial goals. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode:  

  • Who Daryn’s firm serves (1:14)
  • Why Daryn decided to become an advisor early on (3:24)
  • Daryn’s onboarding process for clients (9:36)
  • How Daryn approaches client acquisition (14:18)
  • Why Daryn decided to switch to an AUM-based model (20:53)
  • How would he start in the wealth management industry today (32:07) 

Links and Resources: 

  Assante First Avenue 

 Quotes From the Show:  

“In some ways the business has changed dramatically, in some ways it hasn’t changed at all – this is still a relationship-oriented business.“  

“The majority of our new clients come from our overwhelming effort to do terrific work for people, such that they want to tell other people about it.”

“Their problem is unique to them, but it’s not unique to others, which means it wasn’t unique to us.”  

With over two decades of industry experience, Daryn’s expertise stemming from building his own successful practice is useful to advisors of all different levels. Today, he is sharing his experience and wisdom with us. 

Below, we’re sharing three key ideas from the episode:

  • Daryn’s clientele and how he approaches serving and acquiring them 
  • How to build a business that is a good fit for you
  • Daryn’s advice for young advisors breaking into the industry 

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

Daryn’s clientele and how he approaches serving and acquiring them 

Many advisors build a clientele that is niche-oriented, allowing them to serve people on a deeper level than they could if operating in a diverse market. Daryn’s niche is owner-managed enterprises. Operating in Saskatoon, his client base is typically made up of business owners across the different industries in the area such as manufacturing, mining, construction, and more. 

This commonality amongst the client base of his practice has its benefits. The majority of these business owners come in seeking help with similar financial planning problems, allowing Daryn and his team to know what the future solutions look like early on in their relationship. This has allowed the practice to build a proven suite of services that can be reused over and over again, making the work they do more efficient and therefore, more impactful. 

Serving Clients and Client Acquisition

When it comes to acquiring new clients, Daryn’s firm is a relationship-oriented business. Most of his clients come from referrals, something that he attributes to consistent hard work and delivery for his existing client base. 

While he doesn’t put emphasis on manufacturing referrals, he does point out that it is important to let your clients know when you’re taking on new business, along with the types of clients you wish to serve, so that they are given a nudge to refer their friends and family members. From there, your previous dedication will lead to successful client acquisition. 

To serve his clients, there is not one process that fits every situation. Typically, Daryn and his team begin by getting to know the client and their needs in a comprehensive way – Who are they? Why did they start the business? What are the biggest challenges they need help solving through wealth management?

From there, Daryn’s firm steps in with suggestions of how they can fix the headaches the client is facing, using a solutions-based approach early on. He points out that taking several meetings upfront with a client is worthwhile in an industry where it could turn into a relationship spanning decades.

Hint: If you want to learn more about the operations at Daryn’s firm, check out the investor resources on their website for articles and videos covering different aspects of investing.

How to build a business that is a good fit for you

For Daryn, running his own business is something that excites him, making it easy for him to be excited about working with other business owners. This is the key to building a successful financial advisory practice that is a good fit for you: finding out who you will be happy serving in the long run. 

Instead of focusing on the net worth of clients you wish to attract, or going down a path that you think you are expected to follow, Daryn suggests spending time and energy to build a business that feeds your sense of personal fulfillment, setting you up for long term, sustainable success. 

When it comes to the number of clients a firm should serve, Daryn says that you can find success at any number of clients as long as you establish a process that makes sense for all parties involved. Whether you have 3 clients or over 100, setting up a service model that aligns the needs of the clients with the needs of the advisor, as well as setting up a revenue model that allows the advisor to be properly compensated, is the best path. 

Hint: Interested to hear more from about approaching financial advising from the lens of being a business owner? Check out Episode 41 with Dustin Serviss, where we discuss how owning his own business helps him advise his clients.

Daryn’s advice for young advisors breaking into the industry 

For those wishing to break into the financial planning industry, Daryn suggests utilizing the community of advisors around you. Take time to research firms that align with your value set and that serve communities that interest you, and look for mentorship opportunities within them. 

Similar to the legal or accounting world, the structure of the industry has shifted to people coming in as associates and working their way up at firms through hard work. Daryn suggests volunteering your services at different firms to find the best fit, and then making yourself a useful component at that firm, positioning yourself for upward mobility. 

To hear more from Daryn about the compensation model at his firm, what he attributes his success to, and his opinions on financial planning technology, check out the full interview. Listen with the link at the top of the page, or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to make sure you never miss an episode.