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A Prime Commonwealth Advisor on Driving Productiveness


Photo Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, with Commonwealth since 2004

Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her impartial advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on employees with a publicly traded firm, she needed to depart huge company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was wanting to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a robust tradition of fiduciary duty to shoppers.

As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time based mostly my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I want to be handled. My goal is admittedly quite simple: to place our shoppers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every consumer brings to our follow.”

Throughout our conversations, the pressure of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined by means of. The profitable progress of her agency might be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with shoppers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To offer the customized concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has develop into a grasp of time administration. She has realized learn how to function effectively and collect the required assets to maintain progress and construct economies of scale.

In the event you’re seeking to go impartial or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the facility of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise decisions may make it easier to chart the way in which towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term progress.

Constructing One thing Particular

For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing consumer relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every particular person you serve. With a purpose to develop a top quality follow, it’s a must to make every consumer really feel particular. That will sound elementary, nevertheless it’s essential to maintain high of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers by means of on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to offer assist, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout tough occasions.”

A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary shoppers shouldn’t get voicemail after they name, and follow-up to requests and issues have to be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t fascinated with “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common critiques to maintain abreast of adjustments in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when growing a plan for a brand new consumer.

The end result? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged neighborhood of long-term shoppers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: in keeping with Sullivan-Kreiss, “The vast majority of my agency’s new shoppers come from referrals from current shoppers.”

Spending Extra Time with Purchasers

33 percent data point

As you may see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is instantly tied to her spending as a lot time as attainable with shoppers. Notably, like lots of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in consumer conferences than different trade advisors. That’s in keeping with a 2020–2021 research performed by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 p.c extra time in consumer conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and impartial companies.

The truth is, based mostly on additional evaluation of the information, Commonwealth’s Follow Administration group decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the high decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, based mostly on gross income, progress charge, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the essential work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and day trip with the people she serves.

Reaching Scale and Effectivity

So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss capable of spend a lot time with shoppers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored by means of fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss realized that having the precise employees and agency accomplice will help facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.

The facility of your folks. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will be able to concentrate on client-facing work. With three full-time employees members (a director of consumer relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is obvious on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My group is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes allows me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my shoppers. Their strengths enable the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level assist—the personalized effect we commit to each consumer.”

In accordance with Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular progress has been pushed by her group’s steadiness of competencies. And that progress has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place extra employees is critical. To deal with the amount of labor and maintain her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and a further advisor to the group.

When requested about recommendation for advisors seeking to develop, she states, “One of the productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the precise folks on employees, notably those that have complementary abilities units to yours.”

The impression of your agency accomplice. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency accomplice. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . it’s a must to domesticate the precise relationships with the precise folks. You might want to have a accomplice behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”

Like different impartial advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss seems to be to her agency accomplice for a big selection of back-office assets and assist. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, reminiscent of Commonwealth’s Superior Planning group, available to speak by means of a posh planning or retirement drawback.

As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any impartial agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does an excessive amount of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a consumer is searching for a selected funding technique, she desires to have the ability to depend on her agency accomplice for specialised data. She receives that assist from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis group.

In the end, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency accomplice should have the ability to present a “phenomenal degree of assist” that’s tailor-made to your wants.

Cementing the Cornerstones of Success

Being an impartial advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to fully align her agency along with her values and shoppers’ finest pursuits. She’s been capable of construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one based mostly on placing her shoppers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s centered on the fun of the current and accelerating much more progress sooner or later. Something is feasible along with her imaginative and prescient, a robust group, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.

In the event you’re an advisor eager to go impartial, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you may. As for contemplating a agency accomplice, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however actually not least, all the time needless to say you wish to go the place you may develop, even when it’s one step at a time.

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