Written by: Peter Stanton | Advisor Credit Exchange
As we approach 2023, a key trend for advisors to get in front of is expanding the services they offer clients to include a full suite of banking and lending programs. While some wealth management firms have been making these services available to clients for decades, over the past few years innovation is making it much easier for advisors to become more proactive in offering these services to clients. As a result, many clients today expect cash management and lending solutions to be included in the mix with traditional wealth management offerings.
Going forward, offering these solutions is no longer a “nice to have,” but instead is a requirement if you want to grow your book of business and, perhaps even more importantly, not risk losing the clients you already have. In fact, 84% of clients are looking for financing solutions from their advisor, yet only 4% say advisors are meeting this need, according to a survey from Spectrem Group.
Many leading advisors in the industry have already moved in this direction. According to research from Cerulli & Associates, the share of RIA advisors who offer their clients banking services (such as mortgages, securities-backed lending, and cash management) doubled from 2014 to 2020. Aite-Novarica Group predicts continued growth in the space ahead. According to its recent report, “Banking in Wealth Management: Cash Is Still King”: “As [Banking-as-a-Service] solutions mature and more bank technology providers enter the space, the options for wealth management firms and their service providers to offer compelling banking services will expand. Aite Group expects more wealth management firms of varying sizes to leverage these services to deliver more holistic advice and solutions to clients of all wealth levels.”
If you are still focusing exclusively on asset management, you are only seeing half of your client’s financial picture – and you are leaving opportunities on the table. What does it look like to be a lending advisor in 2023? It begins with building a product lineup and revenue model.
To make the leap, you need to be able to provide and have access to multiple loan services and products. Being a “one-trick pony” – for example, only having a securities-backed lending product – does not make you a lending advisor. Instead, it makes you a product promoter. The key, initial products to offer within your practice include:
- Securities-Backed Loans – specifically Non-Purpose, i.e., Margin/Purpose loans are primarily for investment purposes and NOT for general credit needs.
- Residential Real Estate (RRE) Loans/Mortgages – for purchase, refinance, or to leverage for general borrowing. This is the No. 1 borrowing need and loan type for most of your clients.
- Unsecured Lending – this includes offering your clients access to immediate liquidity without having to pledge either investment or real estate assets. These “signature” loans round out the “Big 3” loan types.
- Traditional Banking Accounts – such as checking and savings, are also essential to include because when you claim to be a lending advisor – competing against banking institutions – the client’s day-to-day account transaction activity is going to become part of the discussion.
When you open up your practice to include banking and lending solutions, they complement -- and enhance the revenues from your traditional investment planning and asset management business. Not to mention, with payouts on production shrinking, you can add significant, incremental income to your practice by including banking and lending programs.
What are the steps to take in becoming a banking/lending advisor?
Of course, chances are you are already busy enough before building out your offering to include banking and lending services. Many times the smartest way to scale is through partnering with a provider that has deep experience in the space. When considering a fintech partner in this area, here are questions to ask and key considerations to keep in mind:
- Can they provide you with multiple products and services – including a curated choice of several leading providers in each loan category? For example, you want to be given 3-4 provider options for your Securities-Backed Loan options – and not just one – but also no more than that. (Remember, this is an advisor-centric offering and NOT a retail marketplace.)
- Can they prescreen/prequalify your clients for the loan options PRIOR to you even having the conversation with your clients?
- Can they ensure that the entire end-to-end process, after the prequalification, is digitally enabled in industry-leading ways?
Most importantly, don’t be fooled by fintech platforms and referral networks that claim to give you the loan (or banking) services and support you need. Always do your due diligence and homework to validate the claims. Ask for examples of case studies to learn about how other advisors have leveraged the provider to scale, and learn about the growth metrics the partnership helped them achieve.
As we close out this year and head into a new one, this trend is only going to further explode. If you have remained on the sidelines, keeping an eye on it until now … the only question left to ask is: What are you waiting for?
Related: How Financial Services Firms Are Moving Forward in 2023