Josh Brown teaches how to build a 21st century advisory firm

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The Annual Spring Symposium, organized by FPA Philadelphia Tri-State Area Chapter, recently brought together financial executives from across the Northeast to share advice about how to stay relevant in today’s fast-paced digital world. Being that the event took place right in our backyard, Gregory FCA was in attendance.

While many of the presenters eloquently shared their thoughts on the evolving finance industry, it was keynote speaker Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, that stole the show with guidance on how to use social media to interact with the outside world.

For the finance industry, the issue of engaging with the digital world is one many advisers struggle with. The average age of an adviser is 50.9, and for most senior wealth managers, reaching younger clients online is a daunting task. In 2013, it was found that Americans spend 23 hours per week online or on their mobile phone, according to an eMarketer report. And the amount of time spent online is increasing every day.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you are not on LinkedIn, you might as well not exist, Brown said.[/pullquote]

To grab the attention of clients today, Brown said advisory firms must join social media, blog, tweet constantly and show personality when voicing their opinion. If you are not on LinkedIn, you might as well not exist, he said. Brown shook his head at advisers who didn’t produce their own social media content and urged money managers to write regularly about trending market news that’s relevant to clients.

Brown is an enthusiastic speaker with a ton of great ideas. We wanted to highlight a few we feel are most actionable and beneficial to advisory firms. Below are the top three reforms that every company must make to stay ahead of the curve and become thought leaders in the 21st century:

Blog, blog, blog – It’s no secret that blogging is an effective marketing tool. Businesses that blog generate 55 percent more website visitors than those that don’t, according to Hub Spot. However, don’t just write for the sake of writing. “People won’t follow you unless they get value out of your content,” Brown said. Advisory firms must supplement their core material with relevant news, pop culture and trending topics to relate to different audiences, including some with limited interest in finance.

Use Twitter as a client retention tool – Clients see value in an adviser’s active social media presence, particularly when they are reactive to industry-related news. The use of Twitter is a true differentiator for advisers, Brown said, and allows them to build trust and rapport with current and prospective clients by showing that they are engaged and constantly monitoring the landscape.

Show personality – Showing personality and developing a niche is an effective way to establish your social media presence and grow your following. When catering to a specific audience, it’s integral to actively participate in debates, refine your voice and demonstrate your personal character. In return, the industry will turn to you for a hot take and you’ll be seen as an expert. In the opaque and often difficult-to-understand world of high finance, this can really help you stand out, Brown said.

With more than 140,000 Twitter followers and a widely-read blog, Brown is clearly one of the most visible advisers in the industry today. Take heed to his advice or risk falling behind your competitors.

This post is a collaboration between Tony and another member of the Gregory FCA team, Riana Aldana.