LA VISTA, Neb. Oct. 23, 2012 Every month, Internet users enter more than 1 million searches for financial advisor. Advisors who dismiss the power of social media will likely miss the mark in reaching prospects and clients, a social media expert told attendees at Securities Americas Assistant University 2012.
Today, you have to communicate with your clients and prospects in the medium they communicate, said Matthew Halloran, founder and president of Top Advisor Coaching. For many, that communication involves some form of social media regardless of demographics. For example, Halloran said the largest population growing on Facebook today is women aged 65 and older.
Halloran, co-author of The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to Build and Grow Your Business, opened the 15th Annual Assistant University Oct. 11-12, at the Hilton Omaha. Social media was just one hot topic among more than 30 sessions within three educational tracks offered during this two-day intensive workshop. The three tracks one emerging and two experienced tracks are designed to help office staff at all levels of experience and responsibility increase their knowledge in technology, compliance, marketing, operations, business management and practice management. The conference combines formalized classroom learning with focused small-group discussions, networking opportunities and "hands-on" use of Securities America's technology.
As the first independent broker-dealer to develop a stand-alone conference for support staff, we recognize the critical role that assistants play in the success of a financial advisory practice, said Kirk Hulett, Securities Americas executive vice president for strategy and practice management.
In addition to the main conference
tracks, attendees could schedule one-on-one technology consultations to get focused, hands-on training, answers and advice from a Securities America technology expert. Licensed staff members had the opportunity to complete their 2012 Firm Element requirements. Attendees were also able to come a day early for pre-conference sessions on the ins and outs of utilizing the Albridge Wealth Reporting system, and best practices for using Securities Americas Managed Opportunities, a flexible, turnkey asset management program.
I have attended Assistant Universityfor the pastfive years, said Julie Chadwick, registered office manager for EFS Group Wealth Management in Sioux City, Iowa. I started with the novice classes all the way through the management classes, and all were beneficial in helping me streamline our business, implementing best practiceseach year. Meeting the staff at Securities America and networking with other assistants is the best part of the conference as it's all about growing your business and working in the most efficient way.
The annual event is also an opportunity for a meeting of the Sales Assistant Advisory Board whose members represent office staff from across the country. This meeting, along with scheduled conference calls throughout the year, provides an opportunity for assistants to offer improvement ideas and initiatives to Securities America based on their experiences from the front lines.
Our feedback from assistants who attend and the advisors they support is that Assistant University is worth every bit of the investment and time spent out of the office, Hulett said. We pack so much information into this event each year that many assistants attend year after year to brush up on their skills, connect with their peers and learn about Securities Americas new programs and services.