Smooth Move:
Mastering the Transition When Switching Financial Advisor Firms
Includes Q&A
Tuesday, April 23rd at 12 pm ET
Considering a Move to a New Financial Advisor Firm? This webinar is designed for financial advisors contemplating or navigating a firm transition. Industry veteran Duncan MacPherson, CEO of Pareto Systems, will guide you through the key considerations for a smooth transition for you and your clients.
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Proven Strategies Blog

2024-02-23 • 2 minute video

Discover the pivotal strategies financial professionals must embrace to significantly enhance their enterprise value. Learn why recurring revenue is the cornerstone of a valuable practice.

This is an excerpt from episode 54 of the "Always On with Duncan MacPherson Podcast" featuring Ted Jenkin, CEO of oXYGen Financial and President of Exit Stage Left Advisors.

Stream the new episode of Always On by clicking here:

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2024-02-22 • 20 second read

Always On With Duncan MacPherson - Leaving No Stone Unturned: How to Maximize Your Exit Strategy with Ted Jenkin (Ep. 54)

Want to receive maximum value for the business you've worked so hard to build?

The key lies in being proactive with your exit strategy.

Dive into a thought-provoking conversation between Duncan MacPherson and returning guest Ted Jenkin, CEO of oXYGen Financial and president of Exit Stage Left Advisors. Together, they uncover practical insights to streamline your operations, improve client acquisition, and scale your credibility " ultimately garnering a higher multiple for your business.

They discuss:

  • The critical role of recurring revenue in enhancing enterprise value
  • Creating "proprietary" value as an advisor
  • Using client testimonials and online reviews to build trust
  • How to leverage AI for content creation (with a list of helpful resources)
  • How an exit plan helps you de-risk in the face of uncertainty and volatility
  • Navigating the HR and legal parameters of a sale
  • And more

Stream the new episode of Always On by clicking here:

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode or answer any follow-up questions. Please feel free to reach out!

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2024-02-21 • 20 second read

Did you miss Duncan MacPherson's webinar on how to achieve a work-optional lifestyle in five years?

If you did, you missed a lot of valuable insights and strategies on how to transform your business into a self-sustaining entity that gives you the freedom to choose when and how you work. But don't worry, you still have a chance to watch the replay of the webinar. 

Click here to watch:

2024-02-20 • 3 min video

Explore the pivotal questions that can transform your client advisory council meetings, from uncovering your firm's strongest assets to identifying unseen opportunities for growth in this short excerpt from episode 53 of the "Always On with Duncan MacPherson' podcast featuring Mike "Cy" Cajthaml Jr., Pareto Systems Business Advisor.

Stream the full episode of Always On here:

2024-02-16 • 1 min video

Ever wonder why clients are not referring? Find out in this short excerpt from episode 53 of the "Always On with Duncan MacPherson' podcast featuring Mike "Cy" Cajthaml Jr., Pareto Systems Business Advisor.

Stream my latest episode of Always On here:


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2024-02-13 • 2 minute read

Advisors have seen that Client Advisor Councils (CAC) can be extremely beneficial to the growth of their practice and for refinements to their process that they continue to make over time. As an example, I recently spoke with one of our consultants, Mike Cy, about one of his advisors who broke down their process for everyone on the Always On podcast I do weekly.

Mike explained that it was enlightening for him to be able to be there and see the process firsthand, especially with an advisor that he'd become fairly close with over a period of years. 

Many of the things that he and the advisor had been working on were brought out for many of his clients during their most recent council meeting. The feedback to the questions provided was very open and honest, and it was extremely beneficial. 

Looking specifically at the steps taken, they first sought to create predisposition and buy-in from the target clients, in part by getting them to see the value in participating. 

Then, through continued contact with his clients, they uncovered and confirmed that which clients were interested in creating something like an advisory council. It was explained as a way to get everybody together for a round table discussion about things that they enjoy about the experience that they're having with the advisor, and to dig up less-positive things that might be in the back of their minds, or unmet needs. The vital point, Mike pointed out, was that getting a client side view of the matter through smart questions made both the process better and the clients more satisfied in and appreciative of the advisor's process.

Too often advisors don't understand the basic questions that clients are - or should be - asking. "How would I want to be treated? How would I view these different services?" are important questions, but very broad, and often asked of the advisor only to themselves. 

What this advisor did was invite the initial group together for the first advisory council meeting. There were about 12 individuals on council, which is a good number. Too large of a group can make people concerned about being open and honest with their input.

Prior to the meeting, the advisor took the most important step; he sent agendas out to describe the topics and questions that were going to be discussed, allowing council members to prepare a bit and decide what their thoughts were. In-depth questions that matter to clients are the fuel that powers a working CAC.

To help you spark your own CAC, here is a list of specific core questions you can supply with your agenda, or mention during other communications, or use as a guide during the meeting itself. We'd suggest that you select up to 10 questions (but probably not more) to address at your Client Advisory Board meeting:

  • How did you come to select us as your advisor?
  • What's the one thing you value most about our relationship?
  • Have we met, exceeded or fallen below your expectations?
  • What one thing do you feel we should improve on?
  • Is there one thing you feel we do especially well?
  • Are we communicating with you enough?
  • Are the materials we send you of value?
  • How do you describe us to family members?
  • Have we done a good job conveying our full array of services to you?
  • Do you see the merit in us engaging a Value-Added Support Team?
  • Directionally, do you anticipate your needs evolving?
  • How often would you like to be contacted? (Remember, you are describing your ideal scenario so don't be shy)
  • Are there other value-added services you would suggest we add to our business?
  • How do you feel about our [new letterhead, new logo ideas, etc.]?
  • Have we earned the right for you to feel comfortable enough to recommend our service to a colleague?
  • Did you find this session valuable? Do you think it would be worth doing again?

Implementing a Client Advisory Council is more than a strategic move; it's a commitment to growth, a testament to the value you place on your clients' voices, and a step toward a practice that is not just profitable, but also aligned with the needs and aspirations of those it serves. As we continue to navigate the complexities of financial services, let's remain steadfast in our quest for excellence: Always listening, always evolving, and always placing our clients at the very heart of our journey.

2024-02-09 • 1 min video

It's about uncovering the real value behind your suite of services and ensuring your practice not only meets but exceeds client needs.

Stream the new episode of Always On here:

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2024-02-09 • 20 second read

Always On With Duncan MacPherson - Shaping Your Branding Strategy: How to Run a Client Advisory Council with Mike "Cy" Cajthaml Jr. (Ep. 53)

In your mind, you have a certain brand image and value proposition for your business. Do your clients see it the same way?

Are your clients well-equipped to tell your story for you and be your biggest advocates?

Join Duncan MacPherson and Mike "Cy" Cajthaml Jr., a Business Consultant at Pareto Systems, as they delve into the power of client advisory councils in uncovering unmet needs, elevating the client experience, and achieving professional contrast. You will learn a turnkey approach to simplify the process and make client advisory councils a routine best practice.

They discuss:

  • The complete process and logistics from ramp-up to execution to follow-through (with an example)
  • How to conduct effective, agenda-driven discussions that lead to actionable insights
  • How to position the idea of advisory councils to your clients for the first time
  • Why client feedback can result in improved referability
  • The added benefit of finding a renewed sense of purpose for advisors
  • And more

Stream the new episode of Always On by clicking here:

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode or answer any follow-up questions. Please feel free to reach out!

2024-02-07 • 3 min video

Discover how a financial advisor transforms client relationships by creating a council for open feedback, aiming to elevate service and personal growth. This initiative reveals the power of client input in reshaping and enriching the advisory experience.

This is an excerpt from episode 53 of the "Always On with Duncan MacPherson' podcast featuring Mike "Cy" Cajthaml Jr., Pareto Systems Business Advisor.

Stream the entire new episode of Always On here:


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2024-02-06 • 2 minute read

I've often emphasized the transformative impact of Client Advisory Councils. These councils are not just strategic tools, but platforms for profound engagement. They bring advisors and clients together to foster understanding, collaboration, and collective advancement.

What is a Client Advisory Council?

A Client Advisory Council is essentially a hosted meeting of a hand-picked group of ideal clients, brought together to provide honest feedback, impart wisdom, and engage in substantive discussions about the financial landscape and the financial advisor's services. It's a deliberate, structured, and meticulously orchestrated forum that leverages the collective intelligence and goals of clients to drive meaningful enhancements within an advisory practice.

Why Run a Client Advisory Council?

In an advisor's mission to deliver unparalleled services and innovative advice, the true driver of improvement lies in understanding our clients; their needs, concerns, and ambitions. Client Advisory Councils are pivotal tools to uncover those unmet needs and enable advisors to:

  1. Capture Genuine Feedback: In a domain awash with data and noise, authentic feedback is invaluable. These councils offer a rare platform for clients to voice their genuine thoughts and suggestions.
  2. Cultivate Client Loyalty: By involving clients in the evolution of an advisory practice, advisors demonstrate respect for their input, fostering loyalty and trust.
  3. Stay Proactive and Ahead: The financial advisory sector is dynamic. Insights from these councils enable advisors to anticipate shifts, refine strategies, and stay ahead of the curve.

How do I Build a Client Advisory Council? 

  1. Selecting the Right Participants: The composition of the council is crucial. A blend of seasoned and newer ideal clients offers a comprehensive perspective, enriching discussions and insights.
  2. Developing a Structured Yet Adaptable Agenda: While a structured approach is essential, flexibility is key. It's crucial to allow the conversation to flow naturally, ensuring comprehensive coverage of all important topics. Your agenda should drive conversation but not dictate its content.
  3. Implementing Action and Feedback Loops: The greatest value lies in post-meeting analysis. It's critical to study the feedback, make an action plan, and communicate the steps that will be taken based on this invaluable input.

The insights from these councils are game-changing. I can recall instances where the feedback led to significant shifts in advisory service models, aligning them more closely with what clients truly seek " transparency, partnership, and a commitment beyond financial metrics. All of which makes the advisor more referable and clients likelier to advocate for them.

Client Advisory Councils are more than feedback mechanisms; they are catalysts for mutual growth and evolution. They help advisors to actively listen, intelligently adapt, and continuously evolve, ensuring that their practices don't just survive but flourish. It's a path of learning, growth, and success, where both advisors and clients thrive together.

For an in-depth exploration of this topic, tune in to Episode 53 of the Always On Podcast where fellow Pareto Coach Mike Cy and I delve into the nuances of 'How to Run a Client Advisory Council,' offering practical insights and real-world experiences to guide you through this transformative journey by clicking here:

Written by Duncan MacPherson, CEO of Pareto Systems and author of The Blue Square Method

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