The affluent are searching for unbiased, multidimensional solutions for protecting, growing and distributing their wealth. Therefore, wealth management has become the latest catch phrase in the financial services industry to describe a business targeting these individuals.

If the opportunity is so great, why does the pursuit of wealth management business remain merely a pipe dream for many stockbrokers? From my experience, I believe it boils down to a set of five principles. These are the fundamental truths that must be at the foundation of your effort to build a wealth management team.

Principle No. 1: Before anything else, you must win the inner game. You must believe in your ultimate success without proof. The most important sale every broker makes is internal. Without courage and confidence, it's unlikely you will be capable of thinking, acting and delivering big.

Principle No. 2: You must be pulled by a long-range business plan. The operative words here are long-range, business plan and pulled. Thinking in terms of weeks, months, quarters or even years is not enough. You must look back and see progress each day, and you must be pulled ahead by what needs to be done tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

Principle No. 3: You must become process-focused. The term process means “a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.” You will need a process for attracting affluent prospects, another process for providing financial advice (solutions) and still another process for retaining your affluent clientele.

Principle No. 4: You must clearly define your present and desired core competencies. Your first task is to thoroughly assess your team's current knowledge and skills. The key is being able to coordinate wealth management solutions through professional expertise in budgeting, cash flow management, net-worth management, portfolio management, insurance, financial/tax/estate planning, planned giving and private banking.

Principle No. 5: You must build a group of specialists into an integrated team. If your firm employs specialists who are readily accessible to you, they must be built into a team. If you decide to create strategic alliances with professionals outside your firm, they must be integrated into your team. Selecting the right specialists is vital to your success, but so is building them into an integrated wealth management team. Immediate, seamless response to client needs and expectations is the benchmark.

Matt Oechsli is president of The Oechsli Institute in Greensboro, N.C., a sales consulting firm, and author of “Winning the Inner Game of Selling.” He can be reached at For a free tool to assess your progress in attracting, serving and retaining affluent clients, go to

Developing Your Parabroker

Whether your support staff should be Series 7 licensed is a decision that needs to be guided by the principles outlined. Review Principles 3, 4 and 5 and answer the following questions:

  • What core competencies does your parabroker have? According to your long-range plan, what new knowledge and skills should he or she acquire in the future?

  • Looking at the processes you need to develop, what role can and should your parabroker play in creating and implementing those processes?

  • How will your parabroker fit in your emerging wealth management team structure, and what role can he or she play in building that team?

Could your parabroker become an insurance specialist? A financial planner? A practice manager? It's your call, made in concert with the parabroker's desires. The stark reality is that most brokers must raise the value they place on support personnel.