Brent Beene, CFP®, MS and Matt Masterson, CFP®, CPWA®, are both wealth advisors at RegentAtlantic – a financial planning practice in New York and New Jersey. As a managing partner, Brent has helped to build the team from the ground up. Over time, Regent Atlantic has scaled as a firm, and they’ve put in a significant amount of effort to build unique career paths that help their new employees grow.

The RegentAtlantic team has developed several career track opportunities for their employees. They’ve created a three-tier career path that offers growth opportunities for everyone – even individuals who aren’t wealth advisors! There are partnership opportunities within operations and marketing, as well as traditional wealth advisor or financial planning roles.

Brent walks us through their employee career track process from initial hiring to ongoing progress tracking to their firm’s ever-evolving performance culture.

Matt is able to give a unique perspective as an advisor who came from a smaller firm, and was drawn to RegentAtlantic because of their unique approach to career track building. In his time with Regent Atlantic, he’s grown as a wealth advisor, and has been pursuing management with the goal of becoming a partner in the future.

In this episode, Brent and Matt break down the benefits to having clearly defined career “road maps”. They both believe that these career paths, both within the wealth advisor role and in other roles in the firm, benefit both the firm and the individual employees. Whether you’re a new planner who is looking to learn more about how to find a firm with cultivated career tracks, or you’re a firm owner who wants to implement a similar system in your own practice – this episode is a must-listen!

 

 

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why career tracks are important
  • What parts of the business and firm that employees at all levels should be exposed to
  • How firm culture impacts the employee and employer side of the career track
  • What a successful review process looks like
  • Where to start if you are building out your career tracks
  • How career tracks encourage employee growth
  • Ways that career tracks grow your business
  • How to offer new experiences to people across career tracks in a scalable way
  • How feedback can be incorporated into your day-to-day
  • How feedback can be viewed as a positive opportunity by managers and employees

 

Thanks for the Feedback

Performance Culture

 

Show Transcript

Episode Transcript


Ian: We’re here today to talk a little bit about career tracks. Why it’s important to the firm, why it’s important to the employees, and get a sense for what your journey has been with career tracks. And how has it evolved? When did it start? That sort of thing.

Ian: So Brent, maybe you can take us through the initial thoughts on the career track? When did it get started? And how is it set up right now versus maybe what it was like?

Brent: You know, so, it actually started before I even joined the firm. And I’ve been with the firm, now, since 2005. So.

Ian: Okay.

Brent: In 14 years, the firm itself … the original evolution was there was basically one team. Very similar positions to what we have today. But I mean, it was literally seven, eight people. And obviously as we grew bigger, then you started to have … We called it similar biology mitosis. So two or three people from that team would split and you would hire new folks in to fill these fairly clearly defined roles.

Ian: Right.

Brent: And so, the career path really had been … and it had different names. But in today’s terms, we’d call it analyst, which would be your entry level person.

Brent: And to just talk a little bit about the evolution there. I went to Texas Tech University and got a degree in planning. And so back in those days, it was rare that companies would hire people right out of school without a book of business or insurance background. So when I joined RegentAtlantic, we were hiring a lot of people from these financial planning base programs, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Kansas State, et cetera. And so the evolution there really has now evolved into where we’re typically really only looking people that have two to three years of experience. Ideally with another RIA in financial planning.

Brent: The next level from that point would be a team manager. So on an external basis … and Matt is a team manager who we’ll speak with. They’re also recognized as a wealth advisor. So that person tends to have a minimum of five years to maybe ten years of experience. Again, primarily in financial planning at another RIA. Or internal obviously. Our main talk today is that an analyst would move into a team manager.

Brent: And at that point, the person’s really responsible for running the team. The evolution there really has been that the teams have grown. And so now that role has a lot of managerial responsibility where before it was a lot … it revolved more around the idea of putting in all of the tasks that were needed. And where did that evolve? Where did those tasks … where are today? Is the bottle neck the wealth advisor, the analyst, the client service administrator.

Brent: At this point now, those teams have anywhere from seven to nine people. So the managerial skills are really important. And all the while that person is also developing higher end financial planning. And a lot more client interaction, and act to the point to where then, we’re transferring clients to that wealth and manager … I’m sorry, that team manager slash wealth advisor. And from that point then moving up into a wealth advisor without the team manager responsibility. So essentially that role, there are two primary responsibilities. The primary contact for the client, and then also, growing the firm. You know, bringing new clients to the table.

Brent: And then, obviously, we’re a partnership. And so partnership will be the ultimate level of career path.

Ian: So it’s three big steps? A junior analyst, associate level, your team manager level, and then move onto partner?

Brent: That’s … wealth advisor.

Ian: Wealth advisor.

Brent: But not every wealth advisor is a partner.

Ian: Right.

Brent: And you could also be a partner without being a wealth advisor.

Ian: Okay.

Brent: Operations, marketing.

Ian: Sure, that’s great.

Brent: Yeah.

Ian: So there’s opportunities for non financial planners, so to speak, right, within financial planning firms? Right?

Brent: Well said.

Ian: Let’s continue on with the firm. Why a career track? What’s important for the firm? What, in your view, is important for the employee? And then we obviously have Matt here, so we’ll ask Matt your response as the employee. What’s important to you, maybe, as opposed to what’s important for the firm.

Brent: Right. Yeah, you know, I think particularly for RegentAtlantic, that culture is a primary driver of this. And so one of our core philosophies is to be better. And so we think about that in the context of growth. We really have to have a career path with the firm so that people have opportunity to grow. And they see it.

Brent: And we tell most everyone we interview with that if we’re not growing, then why would you stay? Right? Because if we’re not creating opportunity for you, then are you really the best? And so we basically mandated that as an organization that people have to grow and we’ve gotta create this opportunity. So having a career path there is key.

Brent: And I think for the employee, it’s an easy correlary to that, which is, you’re gonna hire the best people, they wanna know, what is the opportunity for growth? I’ve gotta earn all of this. But ultimately, this is a firm that’s got a demonstrated history around people moving right through that career path having responsibility and ownership.

Matthew: Yeah, from the employee standpoint. So the career path is what drew me to RegentAtlantic in the first place. So I had started out at a smaller firm. Which was great in terms of getting hands on experience. But after a few years, you kinda say, “Where am I headed here?” And so the draw to come to RegentAtlantic was that there was a defined path to become a full time wealth advisor then, hopefully, eventually a partner. So that was really attractive to me, just the transparency into that process. And I think that’s pretty unique, versus a lot of the other firms out there.

Ian: Once you start working and you have an employee come in and they start, and they’re just working. Right? So they’re an analyst and they’re doing what they’re told. Then the review process happens. And then it’s about managing progress, right? ‘Cause to your point, it’s about follow through. We said we were going to get you to this level. And assuming you do the work, we get you there. How does that review process work?

Brent: Yeah. So we, … again, an evolution. We used to use an Excel spreadsheet where we had four or five major components and we would touch on each of those and try to determine where somebody was in a certain role. Today, which I think we should focus on, it’s much more sophisticated. We use a system called performance culture. And performance culture has allowed us to custom tailor the way that we use our reviews. So for each of those roles that I mentioned, analyst, team manager, wealth advisor, we have now broken those into levels. And certain requirements within each of those levels. So if you think about it conceptually, even if I were to explain it, it would be … we’ve clearly determined in the previous review where someone falls. Analyst level one, analyst level two, analyst level three. Team manager one, two, three. Et cetera.

Brent: And then we’ve got templates now that are created, that once you’re in a particular level … So, you’ve moved on from the previous level and now … Let’s use an example of … let’s use Matt, since he’s with us. And he’s clearly a team manager level three.

Ian: Right.

Brent: Right, so everything previous to that, he’s mastered, in our opinion. So now when we’re looking at his review, we’re simply looking at level three team manager where he looks to be, and then looking ahead to level one wealth advisor. To determine, okay, now there’s so much overlap. I mean, that is right on the precipice of promoted to a wealth advisor. So that performance culture is really key, and we’ve gotten really granular around what are those activities that demonstrate mastery at a particular level.

Ian: So if I’m on an analyst one to an analyst two, can you give us a sense of what those different roles and responsibilities sort of within those more micro jobs might look like?

Matthew: From a financial planning perspective, the tier one analyst is you’re really just attending our financial planning committee meetings, doing a lot more of the data entry, getting to know the software. By the time we get to tier two, we really want you to be a participant at those meetings. You know, maybe even hopefully starting to bring ideas to the table. You know, we have thought leadership ideas, starting to author blogs, things like that. And be able to participate in more of the client meetings. So not only inputting the data, but then have a conversation with a client and explain the plan to them and what the data actually means. So that’d be an example on the financial planning side.

Ian: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Ian: So how has your experience been through that, then? So you went … where did you start, where are you now, and how has that felt along the way?

Matthew: Sure. So I came in to RegentAtlantic as a team manager. So I’d kinda done the analyst work at my prior firm. And so when I came to RegentAtlantic, I think I had a pretty broad knowledge of a lot of things. But what I realized in the career path process is I really need to start to focus and get deep on certain things. And for me, that was the financial planning aspect of it.

Matthew: So I really started to be a participant and do a lot of thought leadership and financial planning. And that eventually lead to me chairing our financial planning committee. And it’s allowed me to create an identity as an advisor. As somebody who was really strong technically. And I think my expertise really lies on the tax side. So I’ve been able to use that and start to develop business that way, as well. So it’s been a pretty rapid development for me.

Ian: So you had a chance to not only develop as a financial planner, but also develop in the firm, take more of a leadership role?

Matthew: Yeah.

Ian: How has that process worked? Or, have you enjoyed that process, I guess, the opportunity to be a part of the firm?

Matthew: Yeah, I have. And I think it’s … to eventually become a partner, I think, is a really important part of the process. I think we all spend all of our time doing training on financial planning and investments. And I never took any formal training in terms of management, right? And so that part of it was new to me and probably is the part I struggled with the most. But I can say, looking back on it now, three and a half years, I think I’ve come a long way. And I still have a long way to go. But it’s been a good experience, because in order to take the next step and hopefully the step after that is you need to have that component of it.

Ian: Sure.

Matthew: You know, if you wanna be involved in the day to day of the firm, you have to learn how to manage people and the right way to do that. And that’s probably the most challenging piece of it.

Ian: So, was that a desire on your part, to be part of the firm as well as growing as a financial planner? Or was that more of a, “You’re gonna work here, and you’re getting to manager, you’ll be a wealth advisor soon, hopefully partner one day. You need to be part of the management process.” Was that sort of a give and take? Or was it, you wanted it? Or you needed it?

Matthew: Yeah, for me, I think personally, it was I wanted it.

Ian: Okay.

Matthew: But I think it’s … yeah, so it was part of the process. So even if you don’t wanna become a partner, you just wanna be a wealth advisor to better yourself as a financial planner, I think it’s still worth going through that process. And you have to go through that process. Because when you become a wealth advisor, you’re still gonna have your analysts and your operations folks and marketing. You still need to work together and learn how all that works. And so being the team manager position you get thrown into the fire but it’s a good experience regardless if you wanna be on a management track down the road or not. Right?

Brent: Yeah, and if I could just add to that. I mean, ’cause Matt’s gonna be really humble. And this was something that I think is important for the audience, which is, we’ve got this clearly defined career path. And it’s broken into levels and there’s sort of criteria. But it isn’t just checking off a list. So if people think about being a partner in the firm and owning the firm and how that … and I don’t mean this monetarily. But taking ownership of it. You want your other partners to feel as strongly about the clients and the people that you work with as you do. And Matt exhibits that. So you asked a great question about, was it him or us? We don’t say to people, “This is what you have to do, you’ve gotta demonstrate the ownership.” But it’s a complete intangible that we’re looking for when you’re looking to make someone a partner one day.

Brent: And so, while Matt started getting involved in the financial planning committee and later elevated to co-chair and now he’s chair, he also helped us set up a trust company which we’re about to launch in March. And he wrote a tax paper about the tax law changes. And he’s done webinars. And it seems like he’s carved out this place where we need a go to person for something. It’s Matt.

Brent: So if you take a step back and say, “Okay, as a partner in the firm, is that somebody you wanna be a partner with?” Hands down. So I don’t think you [inaudible 00:13:57] to RegentAtlantic, but certainly important is that we want people to take the initiative to do those things to better themselves and better the firm. And then it’s a no brainer when it comes down to making a decision on a partner.

Ian: So if I am and employee who wants to be a part of the process but maybe isn’t feeling that possibility for me, how does that conversation go with describing what it means to be a demonstrative partner even if you’re not an implicit or explicit partner right now?

Brent: That’s a great question. Maybe I can point back, and I’d love to get Matt’s take on this, too. We have culture sessions within the firm. So monthly, we’re taking on … you know, each month, we meet. We break the firm into three different groups. We’ve got about 52 employees. And so we try to change the dynamics of each of those groups so that people aren’t in the same group every time. Because once you get to our size now, you don’t always have as much interaction. And so we’ll take a topic like feedback, which immediately jumps to mind. So we read a book called Thanks for the Feedback. And it’s very scientific around the way that we process feedback. And so if we can demonstrate culturally and start to set the example around … we wanna have an open dialogue around that and people should feel comfortable.

Brent: So the way that that, hopefully, would work … And, look, we’re not perfect. I know it doesn’t happen all the time. But I hope it happens a lot more than it doesn’t. Is someone can share that. And that also that there would be a safety around, look, if we are a firm about growing, developing, et cetera. And so if someone … you know, the demonstrative piece of it may not be as front foremost. But I think you can tell when somebody’s better. They just don’t need to sing to the mountaintops. There’s gonna be a place.

Brent: But if people aren’t growing and taking initiative, then it probably isn’t the right place. And that could be further down on in the career. So you wanna handle that with as much compassion as possible. And, “How can we help you get to where you need to be if this isn’t the right place?” But no one’s gonna tell you that if they don’t feel comfortable.

Ian: Right.

Matthew: So it’s about creating that culture, to where it’s not an annual review process. It’s almost a constant, 360 review or opportunity.

Brent: And I love that you said that. Because one of the … Matt knows this because we worked together on the same team for some time. But I don’t ever want somebody to be in a meeting with me in a review and hearing something or the first time. Right? And hopefully, we set that tone across the firm. Which is, whenever it happens, it’s most beneficial to the person. Whatever it may be, good or bad, that you address it then. Because trying to say, well, in a six month review, “Four months ago you did this,” I mean, how does that help? So it really should be a 360, all the time, talking about it. And so nothing’s ever a surprise.

Matthew: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. And I think from an employee perspective is having the transparency into that process. So with the performance culture system, the review’s online. You can go read it whenever you want, even when we’re not in the review cycle. And so it’s very clear about where we agreed we need to work on together and what you’re doing well. And so you always have that in the back of your mind. And then because we do have that open culture is that folks are not afraid to reinforce those things when they come up. So we have the formal review twice a year, but it really is more of a 360, full transparency.

Matthew: And that helps as an employee grow too, because I know from past experience is you do your review, right? And then you look at it six months later when you get together again. And you don’t even remember what you talked about. And so this just has a lot more staying power, I think it helps all of our employees grow.

Ian: How did you go about creating that kind of culture?

Brent: Gosh, it was probably five or six years ago. Actually, one of our founding partners who is now retired started bringing concepts to the firm. I don’t think we called it culture at the time. But things that he’d learned over his career. You know, he’d had a lot of opportunities to go to various leadership development, et cetera. And it was something I was always certainly fascinated about. So I took it over from him probably five years ago, let’s say. And again, the evolution was, “Okay, so, what is our culture?” And if you’ve heard of Simon Sinek, which I’m sure that you knew.

Ian: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brent: So back when he was talking about why you do what you do, it was one of the early type culture sessions that we had. Where people … we started to understand … you know, people went around and talked about why they do what they do. And you saw this common theme amongst Regent. So it became more of a concerted effort around, okay, let’s have these culture sessions every month. Let’s switch the people up, because at the very least just getting together with folks that you may not work with on a day in, day out basis and talking about the firm or what they might be going through is … builds a cohesion.

Brent: And then probably three years ago, we started … as I realized what was most effective, it became, “Let’s take a topic and spend three to four months on it.” Because we would have these great conversations. And just like anything, it’s like going to a great conference, right? You come back and you have all these other ideas, phone calls, and clients. And the next day, you haven’t implemented any of it. So the reinforcement was key.

Brent: So we’ve done a whole host of things. You’ve heard to Steven Covey. He had a son who wrote The Speed of Trust. And so the way I looked at building a culture in these meetings, at least, was one of the foundational elements. And it’s like, communication and trust. And the Speed of Trust was really interesting in the sense of, you could make an economic case for if that if you’ve got trust then ultimately, everything is a lot smoother. And a lot less expensive.

Brent: So that’s one of the things, speaking of the career path, that we try to describe to someone who joined us new no matter what the level is. Soon as I trust you then I can hand it to you and I don’t worry about it. If I’m worried about the quality or whether it’s gonna get done, et cetera, now it creates a bottleneck. And so we talk about that cohesion.

Brent: So fast forward to Thanks for the Feedback. This was actually recommended to us by performance culture. And they had described it, you know, several of their management teams had read the book but they’d never had a whole firm read it. And so we thought, “Well, we’ve got this great forum.” And so the real concept there was historically speaking. And these folks that wrote the book were Harvard negotiation experts and they wrote another book called Difficult Conversations. And so Thanks for the Feedback was, they were consultants in these organizations. And they would teach people how to give feedback that was the way it was taught. And what they started to realize was the giving while you need to improve those skills isn’t where the real meat is, it’s the receiving. You know, because the receiver has all the control.

Brent: And so this was a perfect topic as we started to do more formal 360 reviews, et cetera, that I need to pull that information out of you. Not walk away and say, “Well, here’s what I interpreted, and maybe it’s wrong, maybe it’s right. And the person giving it knew or didn’t know.”

Brent: So we spent four months talking about it and now it’s part of the vernacular. And some of those … at the end of those meetings coming back and saying, “How’s this working for you? Give me an example of what you’re implementing, or what are you going to work on next month?” Versus in the past, maybe we just educated on it and then moved to the next interesting topic.

Ian: So we talked a lot about culture and this constant 360 feedback time frame. On some level, there’s a formal review, right? Where, “This is where you are right now, and we’ll come back to the formal review at another time.” Can you talk about that in between process? So maybe you didn’t reach the level you thought, or there was some feedback that you maybe weren’t expecting, or maybe you were expecting. But even still, feedback is feedback. Dealing with that, taking steps forward, and then maintaining or managing your process … or, progress, I should say, as that time goes on.

Matthew: Yeah. So internally it’s something I kinda look at, at least every few weeks. To just remind myself of what I need to work on. And then I think, Brent’s point, of reading the Thanks for the Feedback book was really interesting. ‘Cause I’ve noticed an uptick around the firm of people actually asking for feedback. And the 360 review process sounds great, but that requires either somebody to give the feedback or for somebody to ask for the feedback, right? And it’s very easy for you to walk out of a client meeting and that slips through the cracks. You know, you’re worried about the five action items you have and the phone call you have in ten minutes. I think everybody at the firm has made a point to ask for feedback, whether it’s a partner asking the analysts for their feedback and take on a meeting or vice versa. And so that constantly reinforces it.

Matthew: You know beforehand, I don’t … I think once in a while it would come up if there was something you really had to make a point on. But now it’s much more constant, because people are actually … it’s top of mind and people are actually asking for feedback after meetings.

Matthew: So that’s been really important to keep in top of mind. ‘Cause the 360 process sounds great but it can very easily not be implemented.

Ian: And it can be nerve wracking too, right? On some level as an analyst, or team manager, you’re providing feedback to the people who cut your check. Right?

Matthew: Absolutely.

Ian: So there’s a trust there, and a level of respect, right?

Matthew: Yeah.

Ian: So can you talk about that for just a second, coming from the employee perspective, providing feedback to someone who might be more senior than you at a firm?

Matthew: Yeah, it’s … I mean, at first, very uncomfortable. Right? Especially being a new employee. So at the team manager position, you manage the analysts and operations folks on your team. But you also have to manage up to the other advisors. And make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So that part gets really hard. I think it probably took me a good six to 12 months to really get the feel for the culture of the firm and understand that that was okay to do that. But looking back on it now it’s very clear that that’s acceptable to give feedback to somebody who’s even a managing partner. And so it just speaks to the culture of the firm. So I think it really comes back to that at the end of the day. Everybody has trust in the process.

Matthew: And everybody wants the feedback. So that’s the other thing, is everybody wants to get better. And they wanna see you get better. And it’s kind of an intangible thing, but you can feel that.

Brent: The one thing I was gonna say that I think you hit on perfectly, Ian, and then Matt talked about it too. Is, so let’s just say it’s Matt and I. And he provides me feedback and I lash out or get defensive or say thank you but then I do something that undermines that. Why would he ever give me feedback again? Right? He wouldn’t. I mean, it would make no sense. And it doesn’t mean that people don’t … you know, it’s not always easy to hear, right? So sometimes people might not be as open. And so we talk a lot about when we do that.

Brent: But if you don’t set the example for that, then no one’s gonna give you the feedback. So ultimately, again, I’m sure there are times where it occurs. But it really … you have to set the example as someone more senior, no matter what role, to say, “No, I really wat it and I appreciate it.” And then, of course, the person’s gonna be comfortable giving it. Otherwise the whole thing erodes.

Ian: I’m really happy the conversation went this way, by the way. And I know we’re not exactly talking about career tracks right now.

Matthew: Yeah.

Ian: But it’s fascinating to recognize how much culture is important, right? You can set the career track all you want but if you have an employee who is unwilling to provide feedback then the 360 purpose is useless, right?

Brent: Right.

Ian: So as employees grow and they start to demonstrate thought leadership or they start to demonstrate, “These might be good partners,” what are ways in which you start to integrate them and create those opportunities? My assumption, and maybe my assumption is incorrect, is that if I’m 25, and I’m three years in, and I’ve just started my analyst role. And then, so I’m working at Regent for maybe 18 months and I think I’d really like to be on a committee. But I’m not exactly sure how I get on one, or is there an open role? So how do you create that opportunity? Maybe it’s part of the culture too, but I think maybe it’s worthwhile to dive into.

Brent: Yeah. So, Matt being the chair of the financial planning committee can talk specifically about it. I would say you define it perfectly. I mean, it really does come down to culture. I don’t think you could honestly say that you look at people without any lens towards what their experience or age is, ’cause that just isn’t true. But I do think that culturally we look at it as, “Look, you got as much opportunity as you wanna take as long as you demonstrate that what you’re doing is adding value and you’re growing, et cetera.” And so by integrating, say analysts, to your specific question, into the investment committees and financial planning committees, we specifically assign them certain tasks.

Brent: For example on the investment committee, it would be an asset class that they would be doing a review on. Or if we were, say, reviewing another manager or a different type of investment. We really want them integrated into that process so they learn how we do the research. They may not necessarily wanna be on the investment committee going forward, but they have to understand how we go about doing what we do because ultimately, they’ve got to explain that to a client.

Brent: And in a financial planning committee, again I’ll let Matt talk a little more about it. It’s similar. But the idea, where somebody’s trying to make their way, if somebody has a passion, it doesn’t matter to us whether they’re 23 or 24, 25. We’ve got a marketing team and then we also have a freelance writer. The sooner we can get people started that are passionate about writing, and about leadership, the better.

Matthew: Yeah, I think on the financial planning committee, seeing it firsthand, is you’re required to sit on the financial planning committee. But it’s interesting, at least for the first 12 months, but nobody really ever kinda leaves in the analyst position because you wanna be involved in those conversations. And it allows you to have real input on the planning we’re doing for our clients. And so it gives everybody a sense of ownership, that they can really change what we’re doing and have some real input.

Matthew: It also gives the analysts great opportunity and visibility at the firm level. So if you come to the financial planning committee and present a good idea to the financial planning committee, odds are, the next Monday morning meeting, you’re gonna stand up and talk about it in front of the whole firm. And so now you’re up in front of all your peers talking about it, and I think that creates some real ownership or real impact.

Matthew: And so to be able to have that at a really young age is … I mean, I think it’s priceless. It’s really good experience.

Ian: So the career track is underway. You’re making the money you’re making. A year goes by, you’d love to be making more, but the money you actually get … right? And that’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just the reality of our personal expectations versus what happens in reality. So can you talk a little bit about patience and how you keep yourself patient, and trust the process? And stuff with Regent, it sounds like things are going really well. And so trusting the process, I think, is very difficult for a lot of folks as they go through career track. So give us your thoughts.

Matthew: Yeah, patience is definitely key. But I think as far as trusting the process go, I’ve seen other people who’ve been in my shoes when I came on board and since then, they have been promoted. And so that right there gives you a lot of trust in the process, right? It’s working. And a lot of the folks that are at the firm had started out in my role or at the analyst role. And so there’s real results there. So that definitely allows you to trust the process.

Matthew: And then I think … personally, I think you wanna keep realistic expectations. And I think from the firm level, too, is I think trying to keep realistic expectations is important. So there’s a time horizon on where you should be for each tier, but it’s not to say that you hit year five at team manager and that’s it, right? There’s that intangible piece to it, too. And so you have to keep that in mind. And you also have to keep in mind that it’s a larger firm. There’s also gotta be a spot open. They’re not just gonna create a new position for you. So it’s a function of timing, and so a lot of it’s out of your control. And so as an employee, I think you have to keep that in mind.

Matthew: But having the transparency around the process and actually seeing it work for folks is encouraging. And that’s kind of let me trust the process.

Ian: So as we’re talking about these expectations and setting patience levels for yourself, one thought that comes to mind is, are there income expectations at different levels? So if I’m an analyst one, two, or three, to a team manager, what can I expect? Do you set that for the employee or is it more irregular?

Brent: Yeah, no, there are clear bands around what we expect compensation to be. And of course there are gonna be outliers for different reasons. We think particularly, in one of the questions you asked on qualitative versus quantitative from a firm perspective. So qualitatively, we think it’s important that people kinda know a range. And then as a firm, when you’re trying to build out, “Okay, when is somebody getting promoted? When do we hire next? How is this growth translating into building more infrastructure in the firm?” Understanding what we’re gonna have to pay for that talent makes a lot of sense.

Brent: And I would say just one … particularly for this audience, one granular piece is, and I think most people know this, the minute that you get out of a financial planning program or start in a financial planning firm even if you don’t have that background and you get your CFP. I mean, you’re value goes up enormously in those first, say, three years. And so we understand that from a compensation perspective that this isn’t gonna be just a three percent inflation increase. Right? Because you’re that much more valuable to the market place early on.

Brent: If someone matures through their career, we like to think of what we put together like a law firm. We don’t really want people out representing RegentAtlantic as a full fledged wealth advisor bringing in clients until they know everything there is to know. But then, obviously you can never truly know that. But. And that they’re representing the firm in a way that we can be proud of, they can be proud of. So that’s part of the expectation.

Brent: And so then, when they transition into a wealth advisor, a larger piece of their compensation comes from bringing new clients in. And we’re very transparent about how that compensation works. So someone can see from … that here a lot of it’s base and bonus, and then it transitions into still a really nice base. But then the future is unlimited. And then talking about how this partnership work, too.

Ian: Matt, as an employee, is it helpful to get a sense of what those income bands are in order to set your own expectations? Maybe it keeps conversation around the office a little more easy around income, those kind of things? But is it easier for you personally?

Matthew: Yeah, absolutely. Because you’re not left wondering where do you stand versus other folks. And so it just doesn’t … having that insight and knowing that there are bands, and where you lie in that band, gives you … I think it does cut down on those conversations that can happen.

Ian: Sure.

Matthew: You know, it can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially depending what side of it you’re on. So it’s definitely helpful to have that insight.

Ian: What do you do to work with your employees to build this culture that we are all in this together? And while compensation is important, don’t get me wrong, everyone needs to be fair, but what the firm needs, right? If you need to take the trash out every Tuesday and Thursday, then you need to do that. Maybe that doesn’t happen at Regent, but I know some firms are, regardless of your level that you’ve reached. So how do you do that?

Brent: Yeah, so I mean, I think we are firm wide bonus structure. So ultimately people … every position gets compensated on firm wide goals. And they’re firm wide. So you can hit them or hit a percentage of them, et cetera. And so it’s not individual. And so in some respects culturally that combats the, “Look what I did.” Now, obviously, as a wealth advisor, new clients that you bring in are attributed to you. And there is compensation for that. But even wealth advisors have these firm wide goals. So I think that’s key.

Brent: And someone that’s very self centered is just … you see it kinda early on no matter what place they come in in a career path and it just isn’t a good fit.

Matthew: Yeah, I was gonna say. I think a lot of it goes back to the hiring process. I mean, when I decided to join RegentAtlantic, I know it’s not gonna be the Matt Masterson show, right? It’s about the firm, ultimately. And I think the firm’s been there 35 years before I got there and hopefully it’ll be there long after I’m gone. So you wanna have that mentality around it. I think … and personally I have … you always have internal competition, right? Among your peers and what they’re doing. But you just gotta, I think, internalize that as much as possible. And then you just about, are you happy doing what you’re doing and where you’re at? And so I think if you try to keep that at the forefront most of the time, then you … you know. It kinda breeds patience and just enjoying the path you’re on. But it’s not easy for everybody to do that.

Hide Transcript