3-Time WealthManagement Industry Award Winner for 2020!

By Jennifer Bacarella, Sr. Vice President | Firm Development

In case you missed it, SPS Family was a THREE-TIME WINNER at the annual WealthManagement Industry Awards (“Wealthies”) this year! We are super excited and wanted to share our great news with you.

SPS Family companies were finalists in four categories for initiatives we established during the last 18 months. These initiatives included corporate social responsibility, service, and thought leadership. The fourth finalist entry was for RIA Firm Leaders: CEO of the Year. 

And the winners are….

Sigma Financial Corporation for Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: SPS4Vets

  • We created the SPS4Vets initiative to benefit U.S. military veterans by providing pro bono financial services to those located in the Ann Arbor area. 

Parkland Securities, LLC for Service: Survival Stack

  • We created our Survival Stack online resource to provide SPS Family representatives information on COVID-19-related issues, including the CARES Act, the SECURE Act, Small Business Administration Grants and Loans, and the Financial Crisis. 

Sigma Financial Corporation for Thought Leadership: NexGen Fusion

  • We established the NextGen Fusion initiative to reach out to college students and recent graduates to increase their interest in financial services industry. We need new, young talent in our industry, especially for succession planning and new depth. We seek out the next generation advisor by providing information on the career, monetary support for certain licenses, and potential mentorships in advisor offices or the home office.

You can read WealthManagement.com’s press release mentioning Sigma Financial Corporation here: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/09/11/2092518/0/en/WealthManagement-com-Announces-2020-Industry-Awards-Winners.html

We are grateful to WealthManagement and the judges for recognizing our initiatives and look forward to creating progressive programs for years to come.

If you have any questions about SPS Family, our initiatives, or our awards, please feel free to call me at 734-663-1611 or email jbacarella@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT…DO YOU NEED IT?

By Keith Craig and Ken White | Practice Management

Practice Management – do you need it? The answer is you’re already doing it. You’re not just helping clients work to achieve their financial and life goals, you’re also running a small business.

A better question is – how well are you doing it?

Many of our advisors have built very successful practices, but from time to time, they find themselves stuck against the proverbial ceiling. They feel caught between the desire to grow their practice and not having enough time in their day to do what is necessary to get to the next level.

Our Practice Management area can help. Adam Peak and Bryan Bruce focus on tools and educational content to help our advisors achieve greater efficiency that can lead to a smoother running business and increased profitability.

“You can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and expect to be in business tomorrow.” George W. Bush

Our Practice Management assistance does not follow an A-to-Z path. Each advisor enters our program at a different point. When warranted, we will begin with your biggest pain points and identify tools, training, and procedures that help ease day-to-day administrative burdens.

Or, we may start with Client Segmentation, where we help you better identify the makeup of your book, how to focus on your stronger clients, and where to find more of these “Ideal Clients.”

In other cases, we may advise establishing a Client Advisory Board, a technique that can help you better understand how your best clients see you and the value you and your firm deliver them. This approach invariably also strengthens your closest client relationships.

Depending on where you are in your career, we may discuss transition planning. We can advise on how to prepare for transferring your legacy to the next generation of financial advisors whether within your family or by selling your practice.

We have developed multiple modules and discussion points that can help you achieve the smoothly running, highly successful practice you envision and prepare for the future.

Contact Bryan Bruce for more information. Email Bryan at bbruce@bdops.com.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

BEHAVIORAL FINANCE AND HOLISTIC PLANNING

By Cheryl Harwell | Case Planning / Practice Management

Comprehensive, or holistic, financial planning describes a multidisciplinary approach a financial professional takes to help clients build the life they desire by  working toward accomplishing a broad set of goals. Many people tend to focus only on numbers, and often use separate advisors to oversee each component of their household – a banker, an investment planner, an insurance agent, etc. This approach separates the household into silos rather than looking at the whole picture, which could create a level of unnecessary risk.

Holistic planning considers technical as well as behavioral elements that are important when helping clients work toward accomplishing their goals. Advisors taking a holistic approach not only discuss financial goals with their clients, but also check in with them about their emotional well-being, their health, and their families. These advisors can end up taking on the role of life coach rather than just investment planner.

As the range of advisor/client conversations widens, additional family members can be involved in those discussions. Many advisors would like to engage their clients’ children in the holistic planning process in addition to ensuring the full participation of both spouses in the planning conversation.

As an example, an advisor who employs holistic planning will sit down with each client to discuss their unique life situation as a whole, including financial goals and life risks in an overall big picture analysis. They will then get into all of the details of the plan, including net worth; investments; expenses; savings; all types of insurance coverage, including life, health, accident, home, auto, umbrella, and long-term care; retirement outlook; college planning; charitable giving; estate planning (beneficiaries, trusts, etc.); and other financial goals and life risks that clients need to consider.

The advisor and client discuss how each component of their overall plan works together to help them reach their goals, including risk management. The plan is then put into place and the advisor and client review the plan on an ongoing basis to discuss and implement any updates and measure the progress toward the goals that have been set.

In summary, holistic financial planning can contribute to the successful accomplishment of a client’s life goals. Although these topics, at first, can be intimidating or overwhelming for clients to discuss, covering them can help give your clients more control and greater confidence in their future. By taking a holistic approach, not only can you help contribute to the success of your clients in reaching their goals, you will form lifelong positive relationships with them and their families. These relationships will, in turn, allow you to reap the rewards of gratitude, praise, and referrals.

Would you like to discuss holistic financial planning and behavioral finance? I’m available anytime. Email me at charwell@bdops.com.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Sigma Financial Corporation Named Runner-Up in Broker-Dealer of the Year Award!

What the Broker-Dealer of the Year Awards Means to Us

By Jennifer Bacarella | Executive, Director of Firm Development

Every year, Investment Advisor Magazine (ThinkAdvisor is the online publication) asks registered representatives to rank their broker-dealers on a series of categories from training and marketing support to service and product availability, and more. This year, Sigma Financial Corporation has the honor of being named runner-up in our category for the prestigious Broker-Dealer of the Year award.

Of course, we aim to be number one (which we have been…NINE times to be exact). We never take anything for granted and do not underestimate the power of growth. We always want to improve. We continually seek to exceed our representatives’ expectations. And we want our reps to feel that they are part of our family. How do we do this? By taking these poll results, analyzing them, and taking action.

We are proud to be named one of the top-ranking BDs in the country. Starting our journey in 1983 with a just a few employees in a tiny little house office, we have grown to a staff of more than 130 employees and over 600 representatives. We believe we are perfectly situated in an ideal spot in the industry – small enough to know our representatives by name and create lasting relationships, and large enough to keep costs relatively low and offer tremendous support and a wide range of products.

So, what does placing runner-up in the Investment Advisor Magazine Broker-Dealer of the Year Award mean to us? Well, it means we have traveled so far since those first days. It means that our representatives think pretty highly of us. And it also means that we have some work to do. We will keep delivering unparalleled support to build legacies. Our representatives are our family – and we will continue to treat them that way.

Further, the BD of the Year award gives us the opportunity to take our strengths up to the next level, improve upon our weaknesses, and show appreciation to those who think so highly of us. 

If you would like to see the article written about us (and other runners-up) by Investment Advisor Magazine, you can check it out here: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2020/08/26/the-broker-dealers-of-2020-the-runners-up/.

To our representatives: WE LOVE YOU! Thank you for ranking us as a top BD!

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me via email at jbacarella@bdops.com.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Silent Auction Held to Benefit the Parkland Scholarship Fund

By Jennifer Bacarella, Executive, Director Firm Development

Last week, SPS Family held an in-house silent auction to benefit our fourth year of the Parkland Scholarship Fund. Management and staff were encouraged to scour their homes and find items that they no longer needed or wanted – since one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. With the majority of our staff still working from home, it was a little more difficult to manage the silent auction – but a few great staff members worked as bid advocates for those offsite employees and SPS Family was able to raise $474 to go toward the scholarship fund.

As you know, on February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida fell victim to a gunman who left the school with 17 fewer beautiful souls than it had that morning.  As the news spread across the country, my teenage daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, this school is in Parkland, Florida, and your company’s name is Parkland Securities.” Seeing her trying to comprehend the severity of the situation while also correlating the two names was heartbreaking to me. The fact kids her age – across the country – were dealing with so much heartache, confusion, anger, anxiety, and so many more emotions, just crushed me. I knew we had to do something.

We organized a charity within our Give & Deliver SPS Family Charitable Foundation called the Parkland Scholarship Fund. Our back-office staff put together multiple fundraising efforts throughout the year to provide scholarships for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On May 15, 2018, SPS Family gifted three scholarships to seniors of MSDHS in our first year. On May 19, 2019, SPS Family gifted five scholarships. Due to COVID-19, SPS Family had less time to fundraise than previous years but we were still able to award three scholarships to the class of 2020. This year, we are starting early, and are very proud to have already raised nearly $500 toward the 2021 scholarship program.

The MSDHS Class of 2021 will be the last class of students who would have had personal experience being present at the high school during the horrific events. Now, years later, as they begin senior year, they face a global pandemic with its multiple effects on education, social interaction, and everyday life. If you ever wanted to know what tough, brave, unstoppable people look like – take a look at these students. They deserve our support.  

We are always looking for creative fundraising ideas, so if you have any suggestions, please let us know! If you are interested in donating to the Parkland Scholarship Fund, please reach out to Jennifer Bacarella by email at jbacarella@bdops.com.

SPS Family Auction Items

About Give & Deliver SPS Family Charitable Foundation

The Foundation has applied for 501(c)3 exemption status with the IRS. The application is pending. The Parkland Scholarship Fund is an initiative within the Foundation’s purview. Renee Barrington, President, is assisted by two officers and five directors in handling Foundation business.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Strategies for Clients Who Need Cash During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Erica Eros | Case Planning – Qualified Plans

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary changes to the IRA withdrawal rules. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed into law to help provide relief from the economic impacts of the pandemic. The CARES Act provides more flexibility to make emergency withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement accounts during 2020. The following strategies may help an IRA owner tap into retirement funds early, penalty-free.

Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs)

Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) are a source of funds available for those who qualify. A CRD is a distribution of up to $100,000 from an IRA or company-sponsored retirement plan withdrawn in 2020 penalty-free. A distribution can be taken as a lump sum or in several distributions up to an accumulated total of $100,000. The funds are taxable, but the income can be spread over three years, and the funds can be repaid over that time to reduce or eliminate the tax burden.*

To qualify for a CRD, an IRA owner, a spouse, or a member of the IRA owner’s principal residence must have experienced one or more of the following:

  • A COVID-19 diagnosis, or whose spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Adverse financial consequences due to being quarantined, laid-off, furloughed, or whose work hours were reduced due to a COVID-19-related closure, work reduction, or child-care facility closure.
  • A job offer rescinded, or start date delayed, due to the pandemic.
  • A reduction of pay or self-employment income.

Once-per-year 60-day rollover rule temporarily waived

The CARES Act includes a waiver of the once-per-year 60-day rollover rule. This waiver may benefit a client who had begun taking monthly RMDs in 2020. The waiver allows an IRA owner to roll back the RMDs taken to date and redeposit them in the RMD source account until August 31, 2020. This waiver only applies to the amount of RMDs taken. Normal rules resume after August 31.

Roth IRA withdrawals – consider last as a source

Roth IRAs should be last on the list for withdrawing funds because these dollars have already been taxed and growth is tax-free. Once an IRA owner reaches age 59 ½ and has met the 5-year holding period threshold, money can be withdrawn tax-free. The dollars actually contributed to a Roth IRA can be withdrawn tax-free at any time and any age. This amount is the sum of deposits…it does not include earnings generated by depositsinterest income, dividends, and capital gains.

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Eros from SPS Family’s Case Planning – Qualified Plans Team by email at eeros@bdops.com.

*Note: Registered Representatives do not provide tax advice. Clients must be directed to seek the counsel of a CPA and/or tax advisor for advice specific to their situation.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

5 Things I Learned as a Panelist at the InvestmentNews Women Adviser Summit

By Jennifer Bacarella, Executive, Director Firm Development

I have been associated with InvestmentNews Women Advisor Summit for a few years now as a panelist and a moderator. This year, like most conferences, the summit moved to a virtual platform. I was a little bummed at first thinking I would miss many in-person opportunities to build relationships with fellow industry women. Turns out, though, the virtual event actually opened many new doors and provided a longer reach for networking!

One of the biggest pros of having a virtual Summit is that it’s free! The Summit offers limited spots because… well… technology… BUT in years past, this was a paid event held in specific cities. If you were not located near one of the Summit cities, chances are you weren’t going to attend. Now, you can attend the event FOR FREE from the comfort of your home or office.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 main points I learned from my panelist partners during the August 4th virtual session:

5) Culture: Working remotely has been successful, but many companies are struggling with keeping their culture alive. Technology tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom help, but the lack of daily in-person communication can clearly take a toll on culture. However we choose to approach the issue, we need to target culture in some of our communications efforts.

4) Training: Hiring new employees is always important but training them has proven difficult. If you hire a new employee during this time, make sure you have a concrete plan of action for training remotely.

3) Technology: Investing in technology that meets the needs of this new way of work life is a must. This may be a large upfront expense, but in the long run, it will be worth it.

2) Retention: Many companies have learned their way around the new remote world. The wide embrace of remote work allows your employees to shop around for a new employer they may not have thought possible before due to physical location. With new flexibility comes new opportunities – so make sure you communicate with your employees often and maintain the great relationship you have built.

1) Recruiting: Similarly, you as an employer now have the ability to throw your recruiting net over a larger area of talent. Use this! In the past, many firms had to limit their search to potential employees within their geographic location, regardless of a potential hire’s skill level, education, or experience. Now, with remote work proving successful, you can widen your search and find your perfect candidate, regardless of location. 

Next InvestmentNews Women Adviser Summit Coming Soon!

Take advantage of sharing issues, ideas, and solutions at the next InvestmentNews Women Adviser Summit, which will be held virtually on August 25 and 26. Reserve your spot now by visiting: https://investmentnews.eventscase.com/attendance/event/index/37646/EN

If you have the time to attend, I definitely recommend you joining us. The Summit features so many smart, amazing panelists – and I am honored to share the virtual stage with them! We hope to see you there!

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

PANDEMIC DOWNTIME? USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

By Keith Craig and Ken White | Practice Management

We are experiencing unusual times! Times like we have never experienced before, and times we hope to never see again. However, you can use this time to make your business BETTER!

Now is a great time to work ON your business since you’re likely spending a bit less time working IN your business.

Think about doing some of the following:

  1. Crosstrain Key Employees.
  2. Create Job Descriptions for Your Staff.
  3. Satisfy Your CE Requirements.
  4. Expand Your Knowledge through Webinars.
  5. Create Workflows & Document the Processes You Use.
  6. Update Client Information in Redtail CRM.
  7. Establish a Marketing Calendar for the Next 12 Months.
  8. Perform Due Diligence on Products and Platforms.
  9. Segment Your Book of Business and Study It.
  10. Peruse Horsesmouth & MarketingLibrary as well as Survival Stack.
  11. Schedule and Take Docupace Training.
  12. Reach Out to Fellow Advisors and Share Ideas.
  13. Take Online Training on Redtail CRM.
  14. Experiment with Riskalyze to Become More Adept.
  15. Brainstorm with Co-Workers and Staff on Client Relationships.
  16. Take a Look at Your Office and Update its Look and Feel.
  17. Learn How to Conduct Video Meetings More Efficiently.
  18. Take Broker-Dealer Training on Social Media and Establish Your Online Presence.
  19. Update Your Firm’s Website.
  20. Plan a Pandemic-Safe Client Appreciation Event.

We hope this list gives you a few ideas that will help you move your business forward. As always, feel free to contact the Practice Management Team for assistance. Email us at PracticeManagement@bdops.com.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Behavioral Finance – Reopening the Economy & Consumer Behavior

By Cheryl Harwell | Case Planning & Practice Management

Behavioral Finance – Reopening the Economy & Consumer Behavior

When COVID-19 first hit the U.S., it was only a matter of weeks that the ordinary acts Americans took for granted became fraught with concern. Going to the store, getting a haircut, dining out with friends and family, taking a flight…all suddenly introduced risk. States locked down, businesses closed, and consumers stayed home. Our economy, for the most part, came to a screeching halt.

Today, as states attempt to reopen their economies, it’s unlikely that consumers will immediately return to their “normal” pre-pandemic behaviors…first, they want to feel safe. How quickly and robustly the U.S. economy rebounds will be shaped in large part by emotion.

Cautious consumers may delay their reentry into the economy until they think it is completely safe to do so, both physically and financially. Of course, just about everyone was ready for a haircut, risk or no risk. These consumers’ concerns about their well-being have definite implications for retailers, restaurants, airlines, workout facilities, theaters, and other consumer-oriented businesses.

Citing a recent article in Forbes Magazine, titled “How Will the Pandemic Change Consumer Behavior,” written by Kian Bakhtiari:

“On an individual level, the pandemic is likely to cause two opposing social behaviors. For a large section of the population, COVID-19 provides an ideal opportunity to re-evaluate their current lifestyle choices, adjust, and reset their lives. You only have to take a look at the number of people who have used their newfound time to exercise, start a new skill, or make a career transition. For instance, sales of Peloton bikes have jumped nearly 66% and LinkedIn has reported a 3x increase in time spent learning.

“Although it feels like we’re going to change the way we live forever, things are never that simple. If anything, we know that human beings are not very good at sticking to new habits. In the U.S., 44% of adults make a New Year’s resolution — and the most popular is going to the gym. But we also know 80% will quit within five months. Even if there won’t be a “normal” to go back to — once lockdown is over — levels of adaptability and will vary among different groups.

“The pandemic is likely to produce two distinctive behavioral archetypes: people who have embraced a new lifestyle and those who have largely remained unchanged. The emergence of the new behavioral group is going to have a transformative impact on the future of brands. Inevitably, there will be winners and losers. Some brands will need to figure out how to win back old customers with new mindsets. Whereas, other brands will use the opportunity to steal market share by appealing to consumers newly formed lifestyles. Regardless, marketers should have these two distinct archetypes in mind when updating their customer segments.”

Due to the emotional impact this pandemic has had (and continues to have) on consumers, representatives have been presented an extraordinary opportunity. Clients and prospects seek safety and hope for a secure future. That’s where planning fits…planning financial professionals can provide.

Reach out to your clients and talk with them – not just about their account balances and performance, but about how they are feeling. Show empathy, and help them plan. They will appreciate your ear and your advice, and you will reap the rewards by receiving their gratitude and their referrals.

Would you like to discuss behavioral finance and how it plays into the “reopening” mindset? Send me a note at charwell@bdops.com. I’d be happy to discuss the present and the future for your financial practice.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

BEST PRACTICES for this UNPRECEDENTED TIME

By Keith Craig and Ken White | Case Planning

With Excerpts from Financial Independence Group (FIG)’s COVID-19 Response

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread across the U.S. sickening and killing people while also affecting markets through uncertainty and fear, no one may know your clients’ major concerns better than you.

Some people react emotionally to a large market downturn, or even the prediction of one, and feel their retirement savings will be lost forever. We believe longer term market trends will return because they have historically – we’re just not exactly sure when – and, of course, there is no guarantee. We can help clients and prospects through this troubling time through positive engagement and portfolio reviews.

Some people may ask you to help identify the market bottom, or an individual stock’s low point, so they can make sure to get invested at the right time. We know timing the market rarely works and is an inadvisable strategy. We can educate our clients and prospects.

Many people, especially those who are older, are frightened and worried about their own health because of COVID-19. We need to rely on our adjusted communications strategy using phone calls, online videoconferences, and emails for as long as it takes for clients and prospects to feel comfortable again.

Other clients have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, or their businesses may be barely surviving. We may personally relate to much of this ourselves. We can be empathetic advocates for clients.

Your clients and prospects are currently dealing with many threats to their sense of well-being. We want you to know that the SPS Family home office is committed to providing representatives with access to relevant content, best practices, marketing ideas, client letters, and more during this unprecedented time!

One of our business associates, Financial Independence Group (FIG), released a clear, concise, helpful whitepaper on how best to respond to COVID-19 and its effects. A few excerpts with SPS Family comments added appear below. You may download your own free copy of FIG’s whitepaper here: https://www.figmarketing.com/#!/ProductRD

BEST PRACTICES

Over-communicate with your clients, prospects, and staff

  • Pick up the phone & call your clients.
  • Send clients relevant content via email. SPS Family has provided multiple client letter templates to customize and use. SPS Family also provides a MarketingLibrary subscription, which reps can access for new content daily.
  • Set up videoconference meetings with clients for one-on-one face time. SPS Family provides the Online Meeting application for doing so.

Redirect your marketing dollars – find best practices

  • Send gifts: Wellness Basket, Games, Books, Puzzles, etc.
  • Offer online Webinars for client and prospect groups. Do your homework using research provided by SPS Family through our own website and through Horsesmouth, which we provide for reps.
  • Invest in Video Equipment to upgrade your capabilities.

Be a leader and serve your community (local rules must be followed)

  • Start a Food Bank (pick-up from your office). Ask clients to help provide items for a pantry. Or join an existing one as a volunteer and encourage clients to help.
  • Support your local veterans who may be deeply affected by many current events, some of whom are homeless, which is an absolute tragedy. SPS Family is dedicated to honoring and helping our veterans.
  • Volunteer with local media to be on standby as a financial professional for interviews on topics affecting people’s finances (subject to Compliance review).

MARKETING IDEAS

Use Social Media to connect & engage. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter may be used by SPS Family representatives (subject to Compliance training and best practices).

  • Post information about local resources.
  • Provide POSITIVE messaging.
  • Establish yourself as a thought-leader. Write a blog or whitepaper occasionally and share it. SPS Family Compliance will assist in approving content, language, and delivery method in a consultative manner.

Use your website to connect & engage and establish a “home base” for clients.

  • Post relevant content (see above).
  • Be positive and encouraging. We can help our clients plan. This may be the greatest time to look at investment strategies, time horizon, and risk tolerance. SPS Family provides Riskalyze to reps to assist in talking about risk and establishing a better understanding of what tolerance actually means.
  • Offer your services to clients’ friends and acquaintances who fit your ideal client profile. You can share your skills, training, and experience more broadly. These turbulent times lend themselves to referrals.
  • Use video on your website and online whenever you can. People are attracted to video and spend more time with it.

Please contact Keith Craig, SPS Family’s marketing consultant, at kcraig@bdops.com to discuss any of the ideas shared above in more detail.

Compliance Notes: SPS Family representatives are required to submit public-facing material to Compliance for review and approval prior to use. Representatives must adhere to gift limits and all gifts must be entered on our online Gift Log.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

For Investment Professional Use Only. Not for Public Distribution.

The power of “unsubscribing”

By Kristi Delongchamp | Firm Development

Unsubscribe! Free yourself.

Are you like me and get so many emails nowadays that you spend more time deleting them than you do actually responding to the important ones? If you are, please keep reading…if not, please call me to educate me on your process! I need you in my life!

We all say, “just email me,” or we sign up for access to a website or discount when prompted. “Seems interesting…I’ll get back to that later.” Click. That quick response can sometimes be our own worst enemy as we impose unnecessary stress on ourselves. It can be overwhelming to open your email and see that you have a specific number (which will be different for all of us) of emails waiting to be opened. Such a daunting pile of guilt we build up for ourselves.

Years ago, I asked my manager if she was busy or if I could ask a question. She responded that it was “unsubscribe Tuesday” and she just needed 5 more minutes. Well, that statement intrigued me so when she became available, that was the first thing I asked her. “What is ‘unsubscribe Tuesday’? Do I need that although I don’t even know what it is?” She explained that she got so many emails that she had to figure out a way to manage her time better. She said she got to a point where she decided to schedule a day on her calendar to go into all her unwanted emails and unsubscribe. Can you say GENUIS? Rather than wasting precious time each day, she would simply move them to an “unsubscribe” folder in her email and then she would go in on her scheduled day and unsubscribe. She said every time she did it, she felt so refreshed. It was almost a freeing sensation. SOLD! 

Since that conversation almost 10 years ago, I still follow this philosophy and process. I honestly believe  it has a huge impact on one’s emotional state. It gives you the freedom to sign up for the discount or to provide an email address when prompted, but then gives you a way to efficiently remove yourself from the dreaded unwanted future solicitations. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t make any more hours, so you have to find ways to “work smarter, not harder.” This has been a lifesaver for me and hopefully you will find value in it as well.  If you do, remember to pay it forward and tell your friends, family, and co-workers so they too can lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Transitions Can be Tough – Happy Music Helps!

By Michele Bergeron | Firm Development

We know how stressful transitioning your book of business to a new broker-dealer can be.

Throughout the transition process, keep the reason you decided to make this move top of mind. You can lean on our back office to help you find that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  (We promise, it’s not a train!)

We compiled a list of songs we think will put a smile on your face. Do you have a favorite not on the list? Please let us know and we will add it.

CAUTION! Some songs might make you want to get up and dance!

HAPPY SONGS – Almost Guaranteed to Lift Your Spirits and Put a Smile on Your Face!

  • Just Like Fire – Pink
  • Mickey – Toni Basil
  • Good Vibrations – Beach Boys
  • Happy – Pharrell Williams
  • Dancing Queen – ABBA
  • Love Shack – The B52’s
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  • Happy Together – The Turtles
  • I Feel Good – James Brown
  • 22 – Taylor Swift
  • Thunder – Imagine Dragons
  • Jump (For My Love) – The Pointer Sisters
  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
  • I Gotta Feeling – Black Eye Peas
  • Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill you) – Kelly Clarkson
  • Raise Your Glass – Pink
  • Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus
  • I’m a Believer – The Monkees
  • Good Day Sunshine – The Beatles
  • Love and Happiness – Al Green
  • What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Send your happy song additions to us at FD@bdops.com!

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Behavioral Finance and Current Events

By Cheryl Harwell | Case Planning

Behavioral Finance and Current Events

The Coronavirus Pandemic and COVID-19: quarantines, temporary business shutdowns, market volatility, unemployment, gradual reopenings. All of this is enough, it seems, to challenge, if not shatter, our confidence. We are enduring a physical and emotional upheaval of our normalcy.

Because of the current situation, many of us are doing the wrong thing with our investments. We act emotionally rather than rationally. Important reasons to stay in touch with clients and prospects follow. When we help them through this upheaval, and they don’t end up making choices they will regret, you have a client for life.

  • Your clients and prospects need you now more than ever. They are concerned. They need a sounding board. They need reassurance and a voice of reason. They need calm. Having conversations with them can help ease their minds, and you might even learn something new about them.
  • Constantly watching the markets go up and down can make one miserable and can lead to rash, poor decisions. Selling all equities and moving only to cash or bonds is not a wise choice. One must look at investing for the long-term. You can help by simply telling clients to reduce their market and statement watching to monthly or quarterly. After all, isn’t it the overall goal to invest for the long-term?
  • Try to help your clients and prospects reframe the situation. Tell them to see the market drops as everything being on sale; that they should see this situation as a buying opportunity rather than a selling emergency. They will thank you later.
  • Use this time as an opportunity to reevaluate client risk and reevaluate portfolio allocations. Discussing risk tolerance during times of volatility tends to bring out more truth in how the client really feels about loss. For many, the negative impacts of past market volatility events have faded, or perhaps haven’t even been experienced. This situation can actually help ground clients and solidify their true tolerance for these situations.
  • Take the time to learn about changes from the SECURE Act and the CARES Act and subsequent legislation so you can help clients take advantage of new opportunities created by these laws. For example, clients who already received their RMDs for 2020 may return the dollars to their IRA. Clients who have not yet taken them do not need to get the assets this year. RMDs take one year off, all of 2020, courtesy of the CARES Act.

In summary, this is a tough time for all of us. You can help ease the difficulty by reaching out to your clients and prospects and helping guide them through. If you do, you will solidify and strengthen your client relationships. Your clients will appreciate this and, in turn, will most likely share some great referrals.

Would you like to discuss Behavioral Finance? Talk about prospecting in a downturn? Send me an email! Cheryl Harwell = charwell@bdops.com.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! If you would like to know what else might make our family special, we would love to chat! Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Implement Behavioral Finance in Your Client Interactions

By Cheryl Harwell | Case Planning

Implement Behavioral Finance in Your Client Interactions

While advisors can’t completely offset biases that they or their clients maintain, there are ways to reduce the potential negative impact that these biases may have on investment outcomes.

One maxim: Chasing the “hot dot” – great recent and past performance – expecting future results to continue recent market trends – is a poor strategy. It invites irrational decision-making and can cause one to buy and sell at the wrong times.

Create a plan with your clients and stick to it. Resist the temptation to constantly question the plan and switch from one strategy to another.

Take a systematic approach. This can help reduce the effect that emotions have on investment decisions. Setting guidelines for managing the portfolio can help minimize making decisions based on emotion.

Implement a long-term view. Remind clients of their investment goals during periods of volatility, ensuring that they adhere to those goals. This can help reduce emotional reactions and avoid making poor investment decisions.

Keep your clients’ biases in mind when developing their asset allocation. This will help ensure that they stay invested and focus on their long-term objectives. Accurately recognizing your clients’ risk profiles during the portfolio construction process will aid in preparing you to deal with your clients’ biases as they become known.

Think about how the elements of a portfolio work together. Educate your clients – explain to them what tends to happen with different types of investments during up and down markets so they won’t be surprised when it does happen. Surprises could crumble their confidence in their plan. This lack of confidence may lead clients to switch their strategy to one that may be detrimental to their plan.

Separate your clients’ overall portfolio into different “buckets” that are allocated to different goals. By doing this, you can help your clients measure their progress toward each specific goal that they have, such as retirement, college funding, vacations, home purchase, etc., which can reduce the chances that the client will overreact to a dramatic market move, then regret it later.

Lastly, be mindful of your own biases – the reactions to situations and events you are prone to experience. These affect your behavior with and recommendations to your clients. Take an objective personal inventory. When certain events occur, how do they generally affect you and your actions, attitudes, words, and tone? Work to improve your own reactions.

Integrating behavioral finance concepts into your client interactions can help you better manage client expectations, assist clients in prioritizing their goals, improve investment decisions, and strengthen trust, ultimately deepening your client relationships and increasing client retention within your practice.

Would you like to discuss these concepts? Contact me at charwell@bdops.com I’m happy to discuss!

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! To learn more, contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

The “Broker Protocol” FACTs & FAQs

By Matt Vigo

The “Broker Protocol” FACTs & FAQs

FACTs

  • The “Broker Protocol” (Protocol) is an agreement that was created in August 2004.
  • The Protocol protects Registered Representatives (RR) who seek to move from one signatory firm to another.
  • The Protocol was originally signed by Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley), Merrill Lynch, and UBS.
  • The Protocol’s principal goal:
    • In legal terms: “…to further the clients’ interests of privacy and freedom of choice in connection with the movement of their Registered Representatives (“RR”) between firms.” – The Broker Protocol: https://www.thebrokerProtocol.com/index.php/authors/read-the-Protocol
    • In layman’s terms: To allow Registered Representatives (RRs) and/or Investment Adviser Representatives (IARs) the ability to switch firms without fear of legal action.
  • The Protocol governs when and how RRs/IARs can contact their clients and what information can be taken from their old firm to the new firm.
  • When RRs/IARs move from one firm to another and both firms are signatories to the Protocol, they are allowed to take with them: client name, address, phone number, email address, and account title.

FAQs

Q1 – Who is covered by the Broker Protocol?

A1 – The Protocol protects “registered representatives” who seek to move from one signatory “firm” to another. The term “registered representative” is not defined in the agreement, but the term is defined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rules as follows:

“The term ‘registered representative’ means an employee engaged in the solicitation or handling of accounts or orders for the purchase or sale of securities, or other similar instruments, for the accounts of customers of his employer or in the solicitation or handling of business in connection with investment advisory or investment management services furnished on a fee basis by his employer.”

The Protocol also does not define which “firms” are qualified to join the Protocol and seek protection under its terms for their newly hired “registered representatives.” While some have argued that the Protocol was intended to cover only broker-dealers, the agreement does not say that, and hundreds of Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) have joined the Protocol.

Q2 – Can an individual broker or advisor join the Protocol?

A2 – No. Only employer “firms” such as broker-dealers and RIAs can join the Protocol.

Q3 – As a registered representative changing broker-dealers, what information can I take with me?

A3 – If your old and new firms are members of the Protocol, you are permitted to take the name, address, phone number, email address, and account title for every client that you personally serviced at your former firm, subject to certain limitations for partnerships and retirement agreements. You are not permitted to take any other documents or information concerning the accounts of your clients.

Q4 – Can I obtain account numbers or statements for my clients after I move?

A4 – Yes. The new firm can request client account numbers, most recent account statements, or holding information from the former firm by forwarding an authorization signed by the client.

Q5 – What do I have to do to claim protection under the Protocol?

A5 – You should provide a written resignation letter to your branch manager and attach a copy of the client list you retained that also includes account numbers for each client. Remember, the list you take with you may not include account numbers – you should specifically note that fact.

Q6 – What about the terms of my employment or association agreement?

A6 – Many registered representatives have executed employment or association agreements containing terms prohibiting solicitation of customers or retention of customer lists. However, as long as the former and new firms are signatories to the Protocol and the registered representative substantially complies with its terms, the Protocol provides that the registered representative shall not be liable to the former firm for retaining the information identified in the Protocol or soliciting clients on behalf of the new firm.

Q7 – Can I use the Protocol if I am part of a team or partnership?

A7 – Yes. If you have a partnership agreement, its terms apply to any client who you did not introduce to the team. Whether or not you have a team agreement, you are entitled to take information related to clients you brought to the team and solicit them after your resignation from your former firm.

If you do not have a partnership agreement but have been part of a team for more than four years, you are permitted to take information related to all clients serviced by the team and solicit them after your resignation. If you have been a member of the team for less than four years and there is no partnership agreement, you are limited to those clients you introduced to the team.

For additional information regarding the “Broker Protocol” please visit: https://www.thebrokerProtocol.com/index.php/authors/read-the-Protocol and for more FAQs please visit: https://www.thebrokerProtocol.com/index.php/faqs

Disclaimer: All information was provided from “thebrokerProtocol.com” website and are the opinions of the “original” authors. They go on to say that If you are considering joining or are already a member and have questions, you should consult with your own legal counsel.

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! To learn more, contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

BEHAVIORAL FINANCE

By Cheryl Harwell

BEHAVIORAL FINANCE

Behavioral finance is becoming a much more popular discipline in the field of financial planning and investments.

What is behavioral finance, you may ask? It is the study of the influence of psychology on our behavior as investors. The underlying focus is that investors do not always make rational decisions. Our behaviors around investing, as in many other areas of our lives, are affected by our cognitive biases, behavioral habits, and ability to maintain self-control, among other psychological tendencies.

Behavioral finance identifies some of the common biases that investors encounter. As behavioral finance blends psychology with investment behaviors, it makes sense that we confront the same biases in investing as in other areas of our lives. The idea is to understand how these biases potentially affect investment behavior so we can help clients avoid the pitfalls they tend to engender.

Common biases that affect investor behavior:

Loss Aversion:

Loss aversion is a tendency in investors to be so fearful of losses that they focus on trying to avoid them rather than on growth or gains. The more clients experience losses, the more likely they are to become prone to loss aversion.

Overconfidence:

Overconfidence is the tendency for clients to hold a false and misleading assessment of their own skills, intellect, or talent. In short, it’s an egotistical belief that we are better than we truly are. Investing involves risk, and over time, taking risks can lead to gains. Of course, losses may be sustained along the way, as well. Historically, long-term investors have reaped rewards. When clients make investment decisions that result in gains, this experience can lead to overconfidence in future decision-making. Overconfidence can also lead to several other types of biases, including an illusion of control, accurate market timing, and the desirability effect.

Herd Mentality:

Herd mentality refers to investors’ tendency to follow and copy what other investors are doing. They are largely influenced by emotion and instinct rather than by independent analysis. The idea that social influences and other investor decisions impact their own, regardless of any fundamental or logical decision-making, is an example of herd mentality. It has become even more prominent for investors in today’s world due to the immediate access of information through social media and financial / market news platforms.

The bottom line is that understanding the basic principles of behavioral finance as it relates to financial planning can help advisors assist clients to be more financially successful long-term. Maintaining focus on things that we can control, such as developing a diversified asset allocation based upon goals and risk tolerance, automating contributions to investment accounts, rebalancing annually, and keeping costs low, are crucial. Also important is avoiding what we are not able to control, such as how the markets will perform daily and accepting the fact that we cannot accurately time the market. Having a process in place helps to mitigate the outside influences presented to clients and will help advisors assist them in reaching their goals.

Consider learning more about behavioral finance to benefit your investment processes and your client relationships! If you have any questions, please contact me in Case Planning (charwell@bdops.com).

We DELIVER great service to independent representatives! To learn more, contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264 or kmdelongchamp@bdops.com.

About SPS Family

The SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

Jenny’s Blog, Stardate 04.07.2020

Jenny’s Blog, Stardate 04.07.2020 by Jenny Bacarella, Executive, Firm Development

It’s Tuesday! Truthfully, I can’t tell what day it is anymore. I just know one thing…we are killing it! I love hearing appreciative comments from reps on how we are DELIVERing great service to them, without a hiccup, in this “new normal.”

Have you been to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan? 

If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do. Michigan is a beautiful place in the summer (well, summer and fall – but I’m not a big fan of winter or spring). February, March, and April remind me so much of the dunes. I’ll explain. “Bear” with me.

After you hike up, across, and over the dunes, you finally get near the coastline and confront a steep drop down to Lake Michigan. You take a deep breath and run down the dune care-free. The air whooshes past your ears and in this moment, you are the fastest person alive. Usain Bolt has nothing on you. Part of you is about to “bite it” at any moment, and the other part just lets your body go free. You see the bottom coming and you can’t wait to touch the water. You hit the beach and thrust your hands into the air and await your medal. February was that for me.

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring and I was banking on that. Probably shouldn’t trust large rodents. Every time I saw the sun, I knew warmer weather was right around the corner. I began thinking about summer trips and briefly contemplated easing my 2002 convertible out of the garage. Then March came along. March is when you find yourself at the bottom of that hill again, staring up and realizing, “Man, somehow I’ve got to get back to the top.” So, you begin your trek. Often, at the beginning, you feel like, “I saw this coming, right? I should have known when I looked down that I had to somehow get back up.”

For every two steps up, the sand steals one back. You start to think about how warm it is…and why has the wind stopped? Karen, who does CrossFit daily, crawls past you at a ridiculous speed. You murmur how much you hate her. Then your children…they are in front of you, kicking sand in your face as they gain height. You would yell but need the oxygen for the climb. You secretly hope that this amount of exercise puts the kids into a deep sleep coma, so that you can drink a bottle of wine in peace when you’re finished.

Finally, the halfway point…wait, halfway? Only halfway? And guess what, it’s April. You stop. You look up and see that you still have quite a way to go but you look back and recognize how far you’ve already come. You also realize at this point that you still have to complete that challenging second half…and ultimately, convince yourself to make the top again.

Your drive and resolve kick in and you gain momentum. With each step, you sing, “I get knocked down, but I get up again,” and you hope and pray that you never have to sing this song again. As you get closer to the top, you see the smiling faces of people you love who cheer you on and, all at once, you don’t feel alone anymore. Your energy surges, and the hill seems to flatten.

You also see Karen and she is yelling something crazy at you like “WOD!” and you really just want to punch her and that – right there – that pulls you to the top. You stand on the summit, beat your chest, throw up, and then realize you made it…we made it!

I’m not sure if this resonates with you, but I feel like, come May, we will look around and value our interactions more than we ever have before. I’m hoping that through all this we learn that with commitment and pride anything can be accomplished…all challenges can be overcome.

I am proud of our home office team even if we do all look like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” at this point. Oh, and push Karen down that hill and scream “WOD!” after her as she stumbles and tumbles.

Learn more about the SPS Family. We DELIVER great service to representatives!

Contact Kristi Delongchamp at (888) 744-6264.

About SPS Family

SPS Family consists of two broker-dealers, Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC; a Registered Investment Advisory firm, Sigma Planning Corporation; and a back office, known as BD Ops, LLC. The companies, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are under common ownership and led by an experienced executive team. The SPS Family prides itself on personal service to independent registered representatives and investment adviser representatives from across the United States. We consider our representatives family as we strive every day to provide them “Independence. DELIVERED.”

300 Parkland Plaza | Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 888-744-6264

5 Tips on Attracting Women to Your Firm

By Jennifer Bacarella, Executive Management, Director of Firm Development 

We have a real need for more female financial advisors in our industry. In fact, women only make up about 17%* of the financial advisor population. One of my goals, as both an executive of a broker-dealer and a financial advisor myself, is to increase that number. The big question: HOW? I may not have all the answers, but as an InvestmentNews “Woman to Watch,” I have high expectations – and I believe these tips will help meet this goal.

Tip 1 – Offer Flexibility

Being a woman in today’s world should not mean neglecting one passion in your life over another. While there are only so many hours in a day, many women know how to use those hours to their advantage if given the opportunity. Flexibility in time scheduling is paramount. As women raise their own families, they need to attend those important events in their families’ lives…no questions asked. I don’t ask for pre-scheduled time off from my team. I choose to trust my staff to handle their work-life balance appropriately.

Tip 2 – Education is Key

In building our broker-dealer, we chose to offer educational assistance to staff. Many women, and men as well, interrupt their education to begin careers and families. At our firm, we encourage employees to complete their degrees, attend graduate school, attain licensures, achieve designations, and we pay for all of these things and take pride in their personal advancement. These approaches help drive motivation, improve work ethic, and solidify loyalty.

Tip 3 – Allow Remote Work Opportunities

My personal goal is to keep my “mom-game,” my “work-game,” and my “play-game” all at a high level. While that takes some creative scheduling, I have found it all possible…and, in fact, required. We need to keep the big picture in mind. Work may need to occur after hours, in doctor’s office waiting rooms, during halftime in the stands, on weekends. Use technology to your advantage. Install a robust VPN at your office so you can securely work from remote locations.

Tip 4 – Model this Behavior

Modeling this behavior can show incoming women financial advisors that they can accomplish work-life balance. Take those vacations when you have the chance to turn everything else off and focus on your family. Pay attention and listen to your children, your spouse, as well as your staff. Develop your empathy and allow your staff to practice work-life balance as you do. Doing so effectively models your behavior not only for your employees but for your children, as well…showing them how all of the competing priorities in life can be accomplished when we always stop to recognize the most valuable moments and truly live them to the fullest.

Tip 5 – Be a Mentor

The best way to attract a person to anything is by mentoring them. Reach out to local high schools and colleges to see if there are young females interested in the industry. Take them under your wing and show them how awesome this industry can be – because it is an amazing industry. Show women that they can be their own boss, get an education, raise a family, and still have fun by following in your footsteps. Be a resource for these young women – and we will see that 17% grow.

I have not found a perfect way…I continually seek new ideas and techniques for achieving a way that works for my business, my family, and me. I hope that my dedication to work-life balance spreads throughout our firm and our independent field force, and particularly encourages women to embrace the industry. I see you out there…you can do it, too!

Jennifer Bacarella is an Executive Manager for the group of affiliated firms consisting of Sigma Financial Corporation, Parkland Securities, LLC, and Sigma Planning Corporation. As a member of the firms’ Executive Committee, Jenny provides leadership and vision in their overall management and operations. Jenny is also Director, Firm Development, responsible for expanding and maintaining the firms’ relationships with independent financial advisors. Since joining Sigma Financial Corporation in 1994, she has taken a proactive relationship manager role, allowing her to interact with the firms’ most successful advisors in their businesses and in their lives. Her high-touch approach has created firms with some of the lowest advisor turnover ratios in the industry. Jenny’s personal interaction and attention to detail confirms for advisors that they have direct access to a member of the firms’ Executive Committee. Her efforts and leadership are carried throughout the firms by the management team and staff. Jenny is a member of NAIFA, WIFS, the FPA, and the FSP.

Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC are broker-dealers, members FINRA/SIPC. Sigma Planning Corporation is a registered investment advisor.

For Professional Use Only. Not For Public Use.

*Source: https://www.investmentnews.com/article/20180808/BLOG09/180809930/the-rise-of-the-female-financial-adviser