Advisors Excel helps independent financial advisors unleash their true potential to serve and succeed
Like the rest of us, the financial advisors that help plan our golden years want to retire one day. For owners of independent investment firms, the retirement dreams they help their clients prepare for can sometimes seem out of reach for themselves. The source of that irony is scale.
At a certain point in the life of these independent advisory firms it becomes clear that financial knowledge and a sterling reputation isn’t enough to keep the business going. Meeting increasing regulatory compliance requirements and technology needs can be a complicated and costly undertaking, and the capital that independent firms need to keep pace is often inaccessible to them.
Growth also means getting the word out. “Marketing logistics can get overwhelming for small independent advisors,” says Ryan Fickel, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Security Officer for Advisors Excel. “Their job has always been talking about investment strategies and retirement. The complexities of producing a radio show or a television ad that attracts clients to come into the office, and then buying those blocks of time/space can be overwhelming and require complex negotiations and scale.”
In 2005, AE’s founders came together at a kitchen table to redefine the role of the independent financial marketing enterprise. Today, AE is a multi-service marketing business solutions firm, supporting elite independent advisors in the annuities, wealth management (AUM), life insurance, and Medicare/Medicaid financial sectors with business process expertise, product analysis, and access to sustainable financial platforms.
“Our strong relationships with carriers and custodians enable us to give our clients access to tools and technology that they otherwise may not have access to,” Fickel said. Because regulatory standards differ among the many lines of business in the financial industry, AE takes time-consuming compliance work off their clients’ plates as well. “We provide value in every way we can, whether it be in technology, operations, compliance, or general marketing.”
One of the most recent value adds from the company is the launch of AE Medicare Solutions, which connects independents to education, marketing services, and insurance products for clients planning their retirement. “We have access to some fantastic tools to include quoting and e-application platforms, as well as a ton of expertise within the AE Medicare division” he said.
Services are delivered through four main divisions: Annuities, Wealth Management, Life, and Medicare Solutions. Those services include marketing, branding, and image creation, as well as service, operations, and technology support, leadership, client acquisition, and sales expertise. Each division provides expertise in operations, compliance, and their IT portals provide clients with access to AE’s documentation and tracking platforms.
“We also have an AE Coach division, which helps teach advisors to effectively communicate different options that exist in the marketplace with their prospective clients,” he said. All in all, AE does everything within their wheelhouse to enable growth oriented independent advisors to thrive and achieve their own retirement dreams.
Multidisciplinary partnerships maximize success
Navigating increasingly volatile financial markets, regulatory changes, and confusing fiscal policies can be extremely difficult for small firms. “Many firms have their own regulatory staff, but it’s a significant value add for them to get consulting and expertise from us as part of our relationship,” Fickel said. “The emergence of cryptocurrency in the tech and investments space is a great example. Advisors need to know what that looks like from a regulatory perspective.”
Typically, AE’s work is advisor-facing, but they also leverage a number of tools that cross the boundary between the advisor and their end client. “Many of those tools are in e-app platforms, so we provide data Integrations for advisors’ CRM systems,” he said. AE’s strong strategic partnership with Salesforce includes custom development and integration, a huge boon for smaller ops.
“Without Salesforce’s support for our unique model, we wouldn't be able to distribute and maintain data, vendor flexibility for plugins, or regulatory compliance across the board,” Fickel said. “We’ve built a proprietary system that can repopulate a prospective client’s applications for a fixed index annuity, then move seamlessly to a different platform and pre-populate that same information into a securities application.”
That helps speed up the tedious paperwork process that advisors must tackle with every new client. “The more we can speed that up, the more the advisor focus their efforts on helping the next client with their retirement goals,” he said.
AE also works closely with Instream Solutions to produce tools that can be natively integrated, as well as advanced investment modeling tools powered by Monte Carlo analysis technology, which runs thousands of lifetime simulations across different market factors to produce a randomized view of historical performance. In seconds, advisors can run a near-infinite number of scenarios from that view to show clients how different life events and financial decisions will impact their retirement goals. “Instream is producing advanced tools for advisors to model retirement scenarios that are very understandable and relatable to the end client” Fickel said.
Access to the technology, products, and services that independent advisors need to scale their businesses effectively enables them to run their companies in their own way with the degrees of control and involvement they desire, on a timeline set for their retirement journey. Partnering with AE comes with one particularly big benefit for business owners: the security of knowing that a best-in-class financial advisor with extensive experience handling wealth is supporting their business practices.
“We will continue to double down on our investment to be the best partner for independent financial advisors,” Fickel said. “It’s comforting to know that, by proxy, we're helping everyone from the independent blue-collar worker to high-net-worth individuals retire on their own terms, and we've taken away the stress of planning for their future or their children’s future.”
Advisors Excel takes a holistic approach to helping independent financial professionals build dynamic practices so they are free to create the businesses and lives they want, while helping their clients create their desired retirement lifestyles as well.
Since forming around a kitchen table in 2005, Advisors Excel has maintained a relentless focus on integrity, innovation and independence.
We have sought to redefine the role of the independent marketing organization in our industry — helping the most elite financial professionals in the country provide invaluable financial strategies for their valued clientele.
As a business, we've been able to make a difference in the lives of our advisors and in those they serve by fostering a culture of community where independent insurance agents and financial advisors are empowered to engage, share and learn from one another.
Adhering to our four core principles —the most important being "always do the right thing" — has also been instrumental in our ability to affect the lives of our clients and the people they serve.
We've expanded that culture and that principle into our community, working to help address some of the most pressing problems facing the community, and providing opportunities for those who work with us to do the same.