Personal Finance

What Happens When Your Clients Are Happy, but You Are Not

While your clients may be happy with your firm, you may find that you're not…then what?

Financial advisors often feel bound to the fiduciary mindset - that is, putting their clients' best interests before their own - when it comes to making any and all decisions. What happens when your clients are happy, but you're questioning whether you're in the right place to best serve both your needs and theirs? How do you even contemplate replacing your current business card with a new one?

The changing regulatory environment, coupled by firm consolidation, has made the financial advisory business more complicated than ever, leaving many advisors frustrated and questioning whether they have a future at their current firm. Frustrations among advisors vary, with some rooted in the day-to-day while others go a bit deeper and pose a conflict to the advisor's core philosophy. And while that variance causes a range of discontent among advisors, their own responsible efforts with their clients mask their frustrations.

So, while you're helping your clients reach their dreams, is there a cost to sacrificing your own personal happiness and, could that inevitably impact your ability to serve clients and grow your business?

Living a life that is congruent with your values and beliefs creates a state of integrity and a sense of harmony. In fact, there's often a feeling of intrinsic trust that comes from someone who's acting in accordance with who they are and what they believe in. Trust, technical competence, experience and knowledge are the foundation for the advisor-client relationship and given financial services has morphed from an industry driven by product to one defined by advice, client satisfaction likely has more to do with the advisor than the firm he or she works for.

Then, what happens when an advisor feels that their firm's policies are not congruent with their core values and beliefs? Can that feeling of incongruence and discontent trickle down to the client and, what's the overall impact on the business?


In our experience, advisors are masterful when it comes to insulating their clients from their frustrations, and while many of the minor annoyances that plague them on a daily basis may not directly impact their clients, maintaining the status quo requires an enormous amount of energy and impacts overall productivity. If your values clash with those of your firm, the authenticity of the message that you're delivering to clients and prospects will likely be diminished.

Unfortunately, many people live a life that is not congruent with who they are and what they believe because they fear the consequences that may result from making a change. Staying the course is indeed the path of least resistance and will require adjusting one's expectations and attitude. You can accept the frustrations and continue to grow the business in spite of them. On the other hand, some advisors may opt to reclaim their place in the driver's seat and will find the courage to tell clients that while they have been happy, you have not been and it is your belief that they would be better served by you taking their business elsewhere.

Operating consistently from a trusted position with your clients often results in a relationship where that trust is returned. Rely on the trust that your clients have in you and - provided that you are acting from a place of truth, integrity and a sense of what's right - you're likely to chart a path that is accretive to both you and your clients; one in which everyone's happy in the end.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.