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How Solo Advisors Can Outsource Financial Planning


Outsourcing for a solo advisor can offer benefits such as cost-effectiveness, scalability, access to specialized expertise and time savings, which could allow them to focus more on client-facing activities and business growth. Solo advisors can take advantage of these benefits by strategically outsourcing non-core functions such as administrative tasks, compliance, technology support and investment research to trusted third-party providers. Here’s what you need to know.

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What Functions Can Be Outsourced

There are many functions that a financial advisor can provide, which could potentially be outsourced to a third party. Here are four common ones that could save you time if you end up outsourcing them for your clients:

1. Budgeting: You can outsource budgeting as a service for clients by partnering with financial planning firms or using specialized software platforms that offer budgeting tools and resources, which can help you create and track personalized budgets, as well as providing ongoing support for specific client goals and needs.

2. Research: You can outsource research for financial clients by collaborating with research firms, leveraging data analytics platforms, or subscribing to research services that can provide comprehensive analysis and insights across various investment sectors and asset classes to help make informed decisions based on clients objectives and risk profiles.

3. Risk management: You can outsource risk management by collaborating with risk management firms or using comprehensive risk assessment software that facilitates the identification, analysis, mitigation, and ongoing monitoring of potential risks tailored to each client’s investment objectives and risk tolerance. Examples of general risks can include market volatility, inflation and changes in tax laws, among others.

4. Investment planning: To outsource investment planning, you can partner with a registered investment advisory firm or use an investment management platform that can help you create personalized portfolio, asset allocation strategies and ongoing monitoring that is aligned with specific client risk tolerance, objectives and preferences.

In addition to these client-related functions, you might also want to outsource management tasks to help run your advisory business. These functions can include:

  1. Administrative tasks, such as scheduling, data entry and managing client communications, which are time-consuming and can be streamlined by third-party specialists.
  2. Compliance-related activities that require staying abreast of and adhering to regulations.
  3. Marketing efforts, including digital outreach, branding and client acquisition strategies, can benefit from third-party tools and expertise.

SEC Rules for Outsourcing

An advisor discussing outsourcing opportunities for her advisory business with a third party.

SEC rules for outsourcing require that investment advisors maintain proper oversight and control over client assets by using qualified custodians, providing clients with necessary notifications and ensuring that custodians send regular account statements directly to clients to protect against misuse or loss.

Here’s a breakdown of some key SEC guidelines for outsourcing that you may need to better understand before outsourcing:

  • Conducting rigorous due diligence on third-party service providers.
  • Implementing effective monitoring and comprehensive record-keeping systems.
  • Restricting the outsourcing of core fiduciary functions.
  • Providing clear disclosures to clients regarding the use of third-party services.

Bottom Line

An advisor reviewing a checklist for outsourcing compliance.

Outsourcing can provide numerous benefits for solo advisors, including cost savings, access to specialized expertise, increased efficiency, scalability, improved focus on core activities, reduced operational risks, and enhanced client satisfaction through better service delivery. But before doing so, a a solo advisor needs to ensure that the third-party provider has the necessary expertise, systems and processes to maintain regulatory compliance standards, while also considering data security, confidentiality and potential conflicts of interest.

Tips for Growing Your Firm

  • If you ‘re looking for ways to grow your firm, one option you might consider is using an online lead generation service. SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is our holistic marketing service that financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • When people need a financial advisor, they typically go to one of two places: friends and family or an online search engine. If you haven’t searched for yourself, consider taking the time to see what comes up. How easy is it to find your website or social media profiles, for instance? How quickly and clearly does your online presence convey what you’re about? You may want to consider implementing some important digital marketing strategies if you don’t like what you see.

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