In our strategic dialogue in April, the conversation coalesced around the Kehrer Bielan research that demonstrates that when an advisor leaves a firm, the firm loses about $2 million in revenue, even if the advisor takes no clients or assets. The participants shared thoughts on advisor retention.

Kehrer Bielan’s Denise Tognarina suggested that managers need to be stressing the compelling future that the advisor has with the firm, starting with the recruiting process through to the eventual focus on succession planning. “Your top advisors are being shopped by other firms, and if they don’t have a vision of their future with you, and a relationship with their manager, they are at risk. You need to be constantly recruiting inside as well as outside.”

M&T’s John Gagliardi stressed the relationship aspect of Denise’s comment. He makes an effort to build a relationship with the advisor’s spouse and family.

Huntington’s Lisa Belcher said that it all boils down to the advisors wanting a voice and feeling that they’re heard. “At Huntington, we have what’s called a colleague advisory group. Each region picks a colleague as their Council member. The president of our investment company participates in every one of the calls, and the advisor sees positive changes from this interaction. You want to make sure you’re treating your top advisors like they’re your top clients, because they truly are.”

Jay McAnelly said he was thinking of the million-dollar producers Ameriprise Financial Institutions Group recruited last year. “We were able to offer them the right position in the right area, but they wouldn’t have listened or come over if they were happy with the culture where they were.”

Denise agreed. “Someone I respect says that culture always eats strategy for lunch.”

Everyone agreed on the importance of an advisor succession plan. Peter Bielan promised to update his review of succession plan alternatives in time for the compensation deliberations this fall.