Article by John Tyers,
Founder and Managing Partner of Wealth Frameworks LLC

Originally published at advisorengine.com

“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” Jeff Bezos

Over the past few years, my perspective on serving smaller balance relationships has changed. Whereas I once saw them as cumbersome and expensive to serve, I now view them as a high potential growth area for wealth managers.

Over the last 20+ years, many advisors moved upmarket in large part by raising account minimums and pushing off smaller balance accounts.

I myself subscribed to this strategy – it was a smart, disciplined way to achieve profitable growth.  But the marketplace has changed. Now, by using smart segmentation and digital wealth technology, advisors can profitably cultivate smaller balance relationships.

Answering the ‘growth question’

Early in my career in the mid 90’s, I recall a lunch meeting with a Registered Independent Advisor client who was wrestling with the challenge of capacity, growth and profitability. Their high-touch model had been geared toward 40 to 45 relationships per advisor – and now, each of the principals had reached maximum capacity.

A fundamental question arose – do we grow revenue by

  • Adding a Partner advisor
  • Raising our minimums?

This particular firm made the prudent decision at the time – they raised their minimum account size. At first, they lost a few clients. But to their delight, other clients brought in new money to meet the new minimums and then they began getting referrals for larger clients. In every way, it was a win. The firm stayed true to its knitting, added assets and increased revenue.

Legacy thinking

Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), Independent Broker Dealers, banks, full-service and national firms have all wrestled with the question of capacity and growth and, until recently, most decided to avoid small accounts or move them to a lower service tier or call center in order to focus on those more profitable, larger relationships. As a result, the small end of the investor market has been underserved. 

Most smaller, mass affluent clients have had to either “do it themselves” through a call center, a self directed client portal or work with an advisor spread too thin to provide a proper planning based wealth management process.

Times have changed – small accounts are now a big opportunity

Times are VERY different today. Small accounts don’t have to be the burden they once were. Advisory firms and small balance investors have more options thanks to digital wealth technology platforms.

Currently many innovative wealth management firms – both large and small – are using technology to deliver their clients an automated digital wealth management solution. When the “robo” movement began, the industry had a binary view of either digital or human advice. Today, the uncontested view of the future is clients will engage both digitally and with humans.

Leading digital wealth management platforms can support both a “low-touch” robo model and a “high-touch” advisor engaged model.

Advisors have been slow to respond to these technology driven changes. Most firms continue to serve their original client demographic. And while some are looking at new tech for their client’s next generation offspring, few advisory firm principals have revisited their business strategy to consider the opportunity of leveraging their investment process, reputation, brand, scale and knowledge to profitably support a lower net worth segment of new clients.

Why now? What is the difference besides available financial technology?

Advisors have an opportunity to utilize technology and embrace small accounts by thinking of them as a unique segment.

FinTech providers have created:

  • Elegant, easy-to-use, digital on boarding workflows
  • Client led goals-based planning tools
  • Interactive advisor dashboards
  • Portfolio Reporting
  • Automated trading and model management platforms

These elements allow investors to experience a simple, yet personalized wealth management process and access quality investment portfolios designed to support the client’s desired outcomes.

These digital wealth solutions can be implemented, customized, branded and made operational for advisors quickly – often within 8 weeks. Advisory firms can control the client experience and define their own service model.

Today is different. There is a client segment in need – for growth minded advisors – who are considering how to use technology to transform their business, increase assets, enterprise value, and impact more clients’ lives. There is a real opportunity today to embrace technology to evolve. Discover a wealth management technology that will help grow your firm.



John Tyers is an innovative wealth management industry executive with over 25 years of experience in leadership roles in the RIA, Broker Dealer and Private Banking channels. John is the Founder and Managing Partner of Wealth Frameworks LLC, a wealth management industry consulting firm, and a consultant to AdvisorEngine.

John Tyers, Founder and Managing Partner of Wealth Frameworks LLC


AdvisorEngine’s Schwab Integration: A conversation with the leadership

AdvisorEngine’s Schwab Integration: A conversation with the leadership

AdvisorEngine announced the completion of the integration with Schwab Advisor Center. Here’s what AdvisorEngine leadership had to say about this announcement.

The Grail with Keith Gregg

The Grail with Keith Gregg

With today’s technology and business landscape changing faster than ever and the cost of keeping up with the Joneses constantly rising, the question is, “How do you afford to evolve…

Over $13 billion withdrawn under superannuation early release scheme

Over $13 billion withdrawn under superannuation early release scheme

One of the Australian Government's responses to COVID-19 has been to allow Australians to withdraw money from their retirement savings accounts. This early release scheme was designed to help people suffering financial…

How RIAs Use Technology to Grow and Scale

How RIAs Use Technology to Grow and Scale

Modern technology is creating new ways for RIAs to drive growth, achieve efficiency, ensure client-centricity, build trust and enable compliance. Dan Lang, Account Executive at AdvisorEngine, offers you five things…

10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Custodial Relationship

10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Custodial Relationship

Choosing a custodian relationship is one of, if not THE single most important decision any new registered investment advisor must make. David Coyle, Senior VP and Head of BisDev at…

Best Interests for Advisors: Your Compliance Program’s Reality Check

Best Interests for Advisors: Your Compliance Program’s Reality Check

Compliance norms change constantly. They change as business innovates and regulatory priorities and leadership shifts. Beth Haddock, Managing Partner at Warburton Advisers, discusses what new developments advisors should understand and…

Top 5 Questions Financial Advisors Should Ask Themselves

Top 5 Questions Financial Advisors Should Ask Themselves

Technology plays an increasingly important role in how financial advisors run their businesses. Investing in technology tools should be a key part of their business plan. Greg Friedman, MS, CFP®,…

Debunking Myths About Direct Indexing vs. ETFs

Debunking Myths About Direct Indexing vs. ETFs

Paul Gamble, CEO of 55ip, explains the benefits and advantages of index investing with ETFs. It's well-suited to active tax management, brings simplicity for the advisor and client, and enables…