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A large, independent broker-dealer needed to realign their corporate strategy, review their competitive positioning and identify growth opportunities in response to the DOL Fiduciary Standard rule.

SUMMARY

Client Challenge

  • The business strategy of a large, independent broker-dealer was not keeping them ahead of market trends and needed to change to support new DOL rules.
  • Their advisory product value chain could not support the transition to a fee-based operating environment and was not competitive with RIA custodians or turnkey asset managers.
  • They needed a better understanding of the gaps in their current wealth management platform and weaknesses in other internal systems. Advisors were demanding a competitive and cost-effective strategy for delivering solutions for small accounts and digital advice.

Ezra Group’s Solution

Provide the competitive intelligence and insight into technology platform options by:

  • Performing a series of focused interviews to identify challenges, opportunities, and early hypothesis;
  • Analyzing current product offerings and advisor segmentation to develop recommendations for improved
    profitability and increased advisor retention levels;
  • Conducting a “deep dive” study of the current technology platform including opportunities for integration,
    identification of gaps and potential to implement best practices.

Impact on Client’s Business

Pragmatic and fact-based recommendations will prepared the broker dealer to better compete against
custodians serving fee-only independent RIAs.

  • Product offerings were revamped to be DOL-compliant and client-centric while maintaining profitability;
  • Internal support teams were reorganized to work more efficiently with focus on advisor
    satisfaction as a primary metric;
  • Gap analysis informed and empowered the broker dealer to leverage technology strengths and
    address weaknesses;
  • Resources provided by external vendors were better leveraged including advisor training and
    practice management that should improve efficiency and increase asset growth and retention.

 

Client Challenge: To realign the business strategy to meet market challenges and DOL changes.

An independent broker dealer firm with over $100 billion in AUM and 2,500+ advisors needed to adapt its business to the new DOL Fiduciary Standard rule.

The legislative changes impacted almost every part of the business from product offerings and pricing to technology and competitive positioning. The firm needed assistance creating a compelling value proposition and a functional plan to convert registered reps (RRs) that were not investment advisory reps (IARs) to enable them to offer fee-based business.

The broker dealer also required expert opinion on its current wealth management platform. The task would include performing a gap analysis versus competitive offerings, evaluating the current vendors and how they were integrated into the firm’s workflows, and identifying opportunities for streamlining and improving the overall technology environment.

The firm was undergoing significant organizational change, but lacked subject matter expertise and competitive intelligence to make the best long-term strategic decisions.

 

Ezra Group’s Solution: To give the broker dealer the competitive intelligence and insight into technology platform options.

The firm set in motion an internal task force to a ddress the DOL-driven challenges, but needed help from technical experts and strategists. That’s where Ezra Group came in.

To consider the project from every possible angle, Ezra Group began by organically weaving its efforts into the ongoing task force to deliver meaningful value with minimal duplication and disruption. The team conducted focused interviews to collect data on the platform’s shortfalls, and to identify an early hypothesis for a functional strategy.

In the “deep dive” phase of the engagement, Ezra Group conducted a comprehensive study of the existing platform, and offered intelligence on where the technology environment could be improved or upgraded. System integration opportunities and gaps in functionality were identified and highlighted for action. Options for handling the decision regarding digital advisory solutions were outlined and prioritized.

Using extensive industry knowledge and competitive intelligence, the team delivered a summary of industry best practices on converting RRs to IARs. Beginning with an overarching strategy, the analysis was supplemented with concrete tactics to maximize on the opportunity. All recommendations were custom-tailored and reflected the firm’s cultural boundaries and capacity for change.

In addition to delivering a review of corporate strategy and growth opportunities, Ezra Group provided an executive roadmap for executing recommendations. The resulting strategic recommendations were pragmatic, aggressive yet grounded in reality, and deeply informed by best practices across industry leaders.

 

Impact on Client’s Business: Pragmatic and fact-based recommendations will prepare the broker dealer to better compete against custodians serving fee-only independent RIAs.

The goal of the project was to deliver practical recommendations that are informed by fact-based analytics, competitive intelligence, and industry best practices.

By tapping into Ezra Group’s technology expertise and industry insights, the firm is able to introduce a revamped suite of product offerings that are DOL-compliant and client-centric. That in turn increases potential revenue growth and lowers the cost of ongoing compliance.

The gap analysis of the existing wealth management platform has highlighted areas of strength and weaknesses versus competitors. The firm now has the competitive intelligence and pricing insights to make informed choices about optimizing the platform for the benefit of advisors and clients alike.