I have followed John’s blog and his company for some years now. I’ve always been enamored with his career, his writings and his uncanny easiness with “telling it like it is”! John and I have had several conversations, and I felt compelled to share his story. As you will read, John is quite intriguing and interesting. His blog, seic.com/practicallyspeaking, is not to be missed. It’s filled with real ideas that one can immediately put into play and written in clearly a unique style that is John’s personality alone. We are honored to present John’s story, and I encourage our followers to check out his blog. I’m sure you will want to after you read his story!
– Maree Moscati, CEO CTPRP
Advisor Services Team Lead
Independent Advisor Solutions by SEI
What is an industry change that you’re really excited about?
John: We’re moving away from what was an advisor-centric business where the advisor picks the product, service model, and pricing to a business that is more consumer-focused. Today, consumers have so much choice. They’re not restrained to using the financial advisors in their city, county or state. Customers can go anywhere to get the advice that’s important and meaningful to them, and in my opinion, we need to make changes as an industry to personalize and customize what we’re doing. The most important way for advisors to do this is to find ways to create unique client experiences by focusing on specific types of clients. And with that, advisors need to partner with outside resources so they have the appearance of scale and infrastructure without the cost. We need to create a niche experience, a curated experience, rather than the generalist way we’ve done things in the past. And then we get to use technology to bring that experience to the people who are looking for what we’re offering.
What advice do you have regarding women in our industry?
John: For women just entering the world of financial planning, I think it’s an incredible time. We’re moving away from that commodity model to a space where consumers are seeking out real advice, and in my experience, women tend to be much stronger in their abilities to empathize, to listen, and to create that curated experience we were talking about.
However, I think the challenges are for organizations to not only hire more women, but understand what the environment looks like and create a space where women are heard and valued. The reality is, there are more women than ever in the workforce, more women than ever controlling finances and building wealth. We don’t just need to hire more women. We need to listen to them. We need to innovate for the needs of those clients. It’s up to us to create a different culture from the very sexist one we’ve had up to this point and continue to have. It’s about creating that authentic culture to support our advisors and our clients.
Share with us something many people don’t know about you.
John: I didn’t get into business to be a writer, even though I’ve been working on a blog for over 10 years at this point. I love to explore new ideas and hear great stories from successful financial advisors. I also had an interest in looking at completely different businesses and how that would relate to the financial services sector. All of those interests motivated me to find a way to share all those stories in a unique way. Ten years ago, podcasting wasn’t much of a thing yet, and so we settled on a blog so that we could have a unique, personality-driven way of having this conversation. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to us to be able to share with people some of the best practices and best ideas, some early market trends that we see, and to have people really feel like they know us.
John Anderson is a managing director and heads the Advisor Services team for Independent Advisor Solutions by SEI. As the team lead, he coordinates the efforts to support advisors utilizing SEI solutions in the areas of practice management including strategic partnerships, business transitions, and business processes, as well as the creation of advisor communities and the delivery of SEI’s Advisor Benefits Program. John has been with SEI for over 25 years and is frequently quoted in publications, such as Investment News, Financial Planning magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and is also a frequent speaker at conferences and industry forums. John is the lead author of SEI’s practice management blog, Practically Speaking, found at seic.com/practicallyspeaking, and has written or co-written 15+ industry whitepapers on topics such as Advisory Firms in 2030, Fees at a Crossroads, and Your High-Net-Worth Client Strategy.