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How can advisors overcome industry challenges?

January 8, 2024 | Last updated on January 18, 2024
4 min read
Discussion between group of advisors, looking at graphs, in boardroom
Heidi MacDonald, Executive Vice President, Distribution and Operations, at Financial Horizons
Heidi MacDonald
Executive Vice President, Distribution and Operations, at Financial Horizons

Ongoing market pressures and an evolving industry are creating challenges for independent advisors. New regulations and technologies, compression on fees, and heightened client expectations are just some of the key trends that are impacting advisors and their practices.

That’s why working with a strong managing general agency (MGA) partner can help advisors streamline their businesses. Heidi MacDonald, Executive Vice President, Distribution and Operations, at Financial Horizons, details how an MGA can help advisors succeed.

Q: What industry trends are impacting advisors and their practices?

Heidi MacDonald: Volatile markets are impacting client investment strategies, which impacts Assets Under Management (AUM) and subsequent trailer fees for advisors. High interest rates mean clients are diverting available cash to debt servicing/reduction strategies and placing available funds in alternate or low commission savings vehicles or solutions like high interest savings accounts and GICs. In the wealth space, specifically segregated funds, advisors can experience significant strain on revenue resulting from the DSC ban and shift to no-load funds, including uptake of advisor chargeback funds. This is in addition to the impact of additional deposit options (ADO) on first-year commission (FYC), and recurring revenue from insurance sales.

“We help advisors accelerate their growth, no matter where they’re at in their business, by providing the right tools, technology, resources and expertise when they need them.”

Meanwhile, advisors are feeling the pressure to digitize their practices. COVID helped move the industry forward with updated technologies. Now an advisor’s business must be easily accessible from anywhere—at any time. And the client expectation is a one-stop shop.

That’s why the value of advice goes far beyond knowing your product and sales today. It’s about understanding the industry and being prepared for where things are going. This is where we partner with our advisors, so they can support their clients through that journey.

Q: How does working with the right MGA partner help advisors sustain their practice and success?

HM: Success looks different for everyone. At Financial Horizons, our commitment is to help advisors accelerate their vision of success. We distinguish ourselves as industry leaders in this space through distinct programs, access to industry-leading experts, best-in-class education, and proven approaches that work.

We can say that confidently because we listen to our advisors’ feedback, and continuously search out new solutions so that we can enhance the tools and services that drive their success.

We also have local teams across Canada. So, whether an advisor needs support in leadership, sales, operations, compliance, or back office, our experts are available to understand the local perspective, unique needs and, most importantly, the advisor’s definition of success with a path to get them there.

Q: How are you advocating with regulators on behalf of advisors?

HM: We have a proactive team of compliance experts that work side-by-side with advisors to help them safeguard their practice and provide best practices to navigate through the various challenges they’re having within a compliance or regulatory space.

Not only that, but we’re on various industry committees also ensuring we are at the table when regulators are shaping policy. We advocate for advisors, we are on industry boards that represent MGAs and independent advisors, and we partner with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). Through that, we represent all of our advisors – their needs and the needs of their clients – and the industry.

Regulators may not understand a day in the life of an advisor and what their clients expect. We provide education and information to regulators on the impact of some of the policy decisions they’re looking to implement.

Q: What other support do you provide advisors?

HM: We help advisors accelerate their growth, no matter where they’re at in their business, by providing the right tools, technology, resources and expertise when they need them. We listen to our advisors, follow industry trends, and then act by creating new programs and solutions that keep their businesses ahead of the curve.

For advisors working in advanced markets, our complex case support includes a proactive operations team, and the expert advice of insurance and investment strategists who can act as an extension of the advisor’s team to help identify new opportunities and deliver better solutions to their clients. We’re also constantly modernizing the advisor experience. Our innovative Accelerator programs are a fully immersive experience designed to help advisors gain clarity on what success means to them, setting them on a path to get the business, clients and life they want.

Those are just some of the ways Financial Horizons helps advisors accelerate their success today and amplify it tomorrow.

Financial Horizons