Why Having Your Own Platform Is Essential To Controlling Your Destiny

Next Level, Hamilton Lane, JJ Reddick & Jason Kelce

I’m wheels up from Baltimore.

Dusk over Charleston

Home of America’s team. The Baltimore Ravens. Or maybe that’s the Orioles.

Either way, my house pulls for the Charm City.

As we wind into this holiday week, my conversations are increasingly filled with firm leaders frustrated with the service they receive from their tech providers and custodians.

The wonderful thing about these leaders is that they aren’t sitting on their hands. They are taking action and making moves.

I’m sure you are too.

Here’s this week’s Connected Advisor:

  1. Call Your Shot: Why Having Your Own Platform is Essential to Controlling Your Destiny
  2. The Rise of Independent Advisors with Hamilton Lane’s Rob Mooney
  3. Next Level: Milemarker Workshops are On the Way
  4. The Power of a Podcast
  5. Milemarker On the Road

Let’s load the cassette tape and press play.

Call Your Shot: Why Having Your Own Platform is Essential to Controlling Your Destiny

How many of us were impacted in one way or another by the Schwab acquisition of TD Ameritrade?

I don’t think many can keep their hand down.

From advisors who benefited from referral programs, transition services, or express service and the deep relationships you built with the team at TD Ameritrade, all of you had to deal with the merger, whether you liked it or not.

For the tech vendors who benefited by being part of the TD ecosystem and worked for years to build in roads and better synergies, many of you had unique referral agreements that we’re all also impacted. And then, when you were hoping to be able to get the time and attention of your advisors, you realize that the further delay of the rollout kept the time and attention away from advisors making decisions to choose your technology because they were trying to navigate that Labor Day 2023 switchover that theoretically could impact the way that they did business.

The dependency on their decisions made your future feel less certain.

Your Platform

Advisory firms who embrace the idea of being a platform have unique resilience, opportunity and self determination.

Are they still impacted by custodial mergers? Absolutely. But these firms, committed to building their business their way, demonstrate their ability to find solutions even when their service providers experience hiccups.

There is real power when firms create a platform that unites all their advisors under a single pane of glass, streamlining workflows to achieve excellence, not just efficiency.

A platform becomes more like Switzerland—neutral amidst chaos. It allows you to keep progressing on what matters to you without waiting for tech vendors who can’t meet your specific needs because they cater to many. By being your own platform, everything you do aligns with your mission, vision, and purpose, creating a deeper impact in the industry.

Becoming a Platform

1. Think Like a Platform

Identify yourself as a platform. Realize that you already have a worldview, tools at your disposal, and an aspiration to serve your clients or advisors effectively.

Lean into and collateralize who you already are.

2. Identify Success Metrics

Determine the major factors that drive your success.

What should be on your dashboard to ensure you’re heading in the right direction with enough fuel to get there?

3. Unite Your Work

Stop letting people do what’s right in their own eyes. Deliver a single, clear way to make things happen. For instance, digitize and standardize account opening procedures at your firm.

Accept no exceptions, improve continuously with feedback, and iterate.

Overcoming Atrophy

Working with custodians and tech providers often leads to atrophy.

Need a new feature?

You might hold your breath and hope they justify the time and expense to address your needs. Service times are slow unless you’re the loudest voice on the phone or you take matters into your own hands.

Building a platform involves organizing your work, simplifying methods, and streamlining your worldview.

I love this process and would love to hear your worldview.

Related: The Massive Gap in Most Wealth Management Technology