Q/A With Erik Mora
Last month we did a Q&A with Marc Koven, Co-Founder of Freedom Partners. He offered a great perspective and advice on managing your operational and technology needs as an independent advisor. To continue the education we did a short Q&A session with Erik Mora. Erik is a Co-Founder of Freedom Partners. Erik has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years. Erik spent most of his career as a wholesaler and retirement planning specialist supporting advisors at wirehouse firms in Southern California. He transitioned to an RIA in 2014 and successfully recruited 13 advisors with approximately $1 Billion of AUM from 2014 to 2017. He also helped rebrand the firm and launch their Your Life. Integrated client experience. Today he is a Co-Founder and acts as Your Business Development Partner with Freedom Partners. Below Erik provides great perspective and advice on making the transition to being an independent advisor.
What is the best advice you can give an advisor considering a move to independence?
“If you have an entrepreneurial spirit then don’t wait. I understand that people will go independent to make more money. The appeal is the high payouts and controlling expenses, which usually means significantly greater income. However, I believe the real joy comes for those who are entrepreneurial, as they will appreciate the feeling of building their own business. If you have that in you, don’t wait. The temporary fear you experience during the transition quickly goes away, but the joy of your new business and lifestyle is limitless.”
What are some marketing and branding items that advisors should be thinking about in a move?
“As an independent advisor you control your brand, message, and overall client experience. This is one of the greatest benefits of the change. However, a lot of advisors don’t fully think through this part of the process initially. I would suggest taking the time to do a strategic plan before you move. A good strategic planning discussion will address everything from your strengths and weaknesses to what you want to be known for and your overall vision. This process will help you build the right brand and messaging from day one and that will help you tremendously during your transition. The process is easier than you think, if you have the right framework.”
From a marketing point of view, what are the biggest differences between being an advisor at a major firm and being an independent advisor?
“It is the obvious. At the big firms the brand and messaging is controlled by the firm. For the most part they do not care what their advisors think or want. When you go independent you get to drive your message. You can brand yourself and create the client experience that works best for you. It’s a wonderful thing to experience. If you are a successful wirehouse advisor, you likely built your client base because of your ability and likeability. This is your chance to build your message and client experience around your strengths.”
What’s the best benefit of being an independent advisor?
“I was a successful wholesaler for over 16 years. While being a wholesaler is not the same as being a financial advisor, I do think there are some similarities. I chose to leave the corporate, big firm world in quest to have my own business in the independent world. I don’t think my experience is far off what a wirehouse advisor feels when leaving their big firm and setting up their new business. I believe the best benefit of being an independent advisor is the same thing I currently experience every day. It is the feeling that I am in control of my own destiny. What I am building is truly mine. It’s fun. Sure, there are the benefits of greater income potential and “being a business owner,” but those are trumped by the feelings and general positive attitude I have about today and my future. I love my former career, but I needed a change. I have a lot of friends that are advisors at big firms and I know they need change. They have great businesses, but have lost the fun of the business. You will get that back and more when you make a transition. You can’t put a price tag on that stuff.”
Your title at Freedom Partners is “Your Business Development Partner.” What do you do for advisors that hire your firm for support?
“I help them build and grow their business. I know that sounds very generic but once an advisor experiences our process they quickly understand we execute on that statement. We take the advisor through a strategic planning session that helps us think through what they really want. We help them build the best processes to execute their vision and then build the brand and messaging around that infrastructure. This process ensures our advisors don’t “over promise and under deliver” and we think this is the most effective approach. I also work with our advisors weekly, monthly and quarterly on executing business building ideas that range from COI campaigns to client and prospect events. My background is selling and refining the art of how we communicate in that process, so I love the day-to-day, “in the trenches” work, I do with our advisors.”
Freedom Partners' mission is to be the premier service provider for financial advisory firms in Southern California. Freedom Partners provides hands-on support and training that focuses on enhancing and refining the people, processes, and poetry of the partner advisory firms they serve. Their goal is to increase revenue, reduce costs, and help increase enterprise value. Freedom Partner’s A-Z back-office support is delivered by their team of professionals that have had long-standing careers in financial services. Their experience has been in roles working closely with advisors, but also as top-tier sales representatives in client-facing sales roles. They have successfully helped build and run an RIA and have experienced the full life cycle of a firm.
Freedom Partners believes these experiences are their competitive advantage in the marketplace. Freedom Partners attributes their success to offering a transparent solution that incorporates technology but also delivers the in-office support they believe advisors want and need. FreedomPartners’ Co-Founders have successfully transitioned over $1 billion of assets from Wirehouse firms since 2014. To learn more about Freedom Partners, please visit us at www.FreedomForAdvisors.com or contact us at 949.751.7407