Category Archives: Practice Management

Ep 76: Are Advisors Missing the Forest for the Trees? – Kiley Miller on Sustainable Investing



As sustainable investing grows in popularity, so do the misconceptions about its framework.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Kiley Miller, Director of ESG Investment Solutions at Envestnet.

Kiley is a passionate leader in the ESG investment space. She shares how she is working to help advisors better understand underlying value of ESG information, its various applications, and what it brings to an advisory practice.  

Kiley discusses: 

  • The differences between ESG aware and ESG focus 
  • How the industry falls short in helping advisors appreciate sustainable investing
  • Simple answers to common objections
  • The value proposition sustainable investing brings to an advisory practice. 
  • And more

Resources: 

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About Our Guest:

Kiley leads ESG product development and ESG product management for PMC’s suite of investment products and service offerings. This includes PMC’s ESG focused managed portfolios and ESG due diligence within manager research. Kiley also oversees ESG and impact data relationships and strategic development of ESG and impact reporting initiatives. Prior to joining PMC in 2019, Kiley was a senior client advisor at Sustainalytics, an ESG research, ratings and analytics firm. There she supported U.S. asset managers to integrate ESG research into the investment process. Kiley also previously worked at the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Kiley holds an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. She also holds a BS in Environmental Sustainability with a double minor in Business and Environmental Economics & Law from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kiley is a CFA Level III Candidate.


Ep 75: ESG Investing: “This is where people are” – With Jon Hale, Morningstar



Workers and consumers are holding businesses to higher standards. Why wouldn’t investors do the same?  As awareness of environmental, social and governance issues grows, more people are saying ‘I want an investment that’s going to help me reach my financial goals, but I’d like the more sustainable version, please’.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak with Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA,  Director of ESG Strategy at Morningstar. A widely recognized leader in the ESG and sustainable investing field, Jon addresses some persistent misperceptions and explains why he sees ESG becoming a permanent component of investment analysis. 

Jon discusses: 

  • Recent commentary in the press
  • Investing vs. activism
  • The facts about performance
  • ESG research and resources at Morningstar
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Jon Hale:

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About Our Guest:

Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, is Director of ESG Strategy at Morningstar. Hale focuses on ESG thought leadership and product strategy. Prior to 2021, Jon was Morningstar’s head of sustainable investing research. He directed the company’s research initiatives on sustainable investing, beginning with the launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating for funds in 2016. 

He has been named to Barron’s list of the 20 most influential people in ESG investing (2018), and in was included in the InvestmentNews’ 10 Leaders of ESG & Impact Investing (2019). 

 

 


Ep 74: What Makes a Healthy Workplace? – With Amy Dittman



A supportive work environment can improve performance, job satisfaction, and even client experience. Sometimes a little thing –– a better desk set-up, stepping away from the screen, or a confidential conversation — can make a surprisingly big difference.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Amy Dittman, a Health Promotion Specialist working with Stifel, to discuss workplace adjustments that can have a deep impact on our day, our bodies, and our state of mind 

Amy discusses: 

  • Small adjustments that can make a big difference
  • Physical and emotional considerations as we return to the post-pandemic office 
  • The overlooked resource: Employee Assistance 
  • The importance of communication 
  • And more

Resources: 

 FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds 

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Ep 73: Use ESG as a GPS Tool, Not a Moral Compass — With Jeff Gitterman



Why is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing moving from marginal to mainstream? Aligning investments with values is just the beginning. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Jeffrey Gitterman, Co-Founding Partner and Creator of Sustainable, Impact, and ESG Investing Services at Gitterman Wealth Management, LLC. They discuss his passion as an ESG advocate, why he believes it belongs in every client conversation and how advisors can make it a standard practice. 

Jeffrey discusses: 

  • The difference between ESG and impact investing
  • Using ESG as a GPS device for investment decisions
  • Why, and how, he made ESG investing the sole focus of his business
  • Critical social changes that are driving the demand for ESG
  • The message he wants to provide in his book — Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity
  • And more

Resources: 

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About Our Guest:

Jeff  is a widely recognized leader in the ESG and sustainable investing field.  He has over 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, with a primary focus on high net worth individuals and higher education professionals.  Jeff began realigning Gitterman Wealth Management towards ESG and sustainable investing in 2015.  Jeff is also the co-host of The IMPACT TV show, which airs on fintech.tv and Bloomberg TV, and the author of Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity. Noted as an “ESG expert” by Financial Advisor magazine, he has been featured in Barron’s, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Morningstar Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine, Money Magazine, and CNN, among many others. In 2018, he was named RIA “Thought Leader of the Year” by WealthManagement.com


Ep 72: Building a More Successful – and Satisfying – Business Through Niche Marketing — With Kristen Luke



Trying to accommodate a wide range of client needs may actually limit your practice’s growth, your effectiveness, and your satisfaction. Targeting a niche that fits your specific experience and expertise can make a meaningful difference for you AND  your clients. 

Kristen Luke is the president of Kaleido Creative Studio, a marketing agency specializing in helping RIAs promote their businesses through a niche approach. In this episode, Kristen joins Laura Gregg and David Partain to discuss the process of shifting financial advisors businesses from a generalist model to a niche model to improve the client experience and business efficiency.

Kristen Luke discusses: 

  • Identifying your business niche based on market size and potential value of the niche 
  • How to ensure that a transition from a generalist to a niche focus makes sense for you 
  • Making the transition while maintaining your current book of business
  • And more

Resources: 

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About Our Guest:

Kristen Luke is the President of Kaleido Creative Studio, a marketing agency that helps Registered Investment Advisors market themselves to a niche, making it easier for them to stand out from the competition and attract ideal clients.

For more than 15 years, Kristen has consulted with hundreds of financial advisory firms and shared her marketing expertise via industry conferences and publications nationwide. Most recently, she has contributed her advice to FPA NorCal, Kitces.com, Top Advisor Podcast, Kitces Office Hours, and Advisor Perspectives.

 


Ep 71: Are Your Clients “Really” Fine? With Julie Littlechild



The right questions elevate good service to actual engagement. They build trust, confirm your credibility and, most important, provide valuable information you won’t capture on a client questionnaire. 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain speak to Julie Littlechild, Founder and CEO of Absolute Engagement. They discuss the importance of going beyond “How are you?”, “I’m fine.” to elicit more meaningful responses, and how a leadership approach can help steer client conversations for optimal results. 

Julie Littlechild discusses: 

  • How to engage to understand what clients really need from you
  • Questions that can lead to more productive conversations and feedback
  • Being a leader for your clients, and its impact on your business
  • Navigating difficult conversations and situations 
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With [Julie Littlechild]:

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About Our Guest:

Julie Littlechild is the Founder and CEO of Absolute Engagement, an advisor coaching firm that guides advisors through a discovery process that connects the feedback directly from the client to the advisor to help identify and develop an action plan to help those firms achieve their most important goals. Julie has worked with and studied successful financial advisors and their clients for more than 25 years prior to founding Absolute Engagement, she launched and ran one of the industry’s leading client engagement, focused research firms.

She is the author of a popular blog and the author of the book, “The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement.” Julie sits on an Investment and Wealth Institute Advisory board and was identified twice as one of the 25 most influential people in financial planning, and she won an Industry Influencer Award in Practice Management.


Ep 70: Shiny Toy or Serious Solution? Enhancing Your Practice Digitally – With Adam Boyer



Wow. That digital platform sure looks good. Sleek and sophisticated. Smart and fast.  So intuitive, it anticipates your every need – some you didn’t even know you have. 

But will it help to enhance the client experience? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Adam Boyer, Head of Business Development at Emotomy. They discuss the challenges of choosing digital tools in a crowded marketplace,  key considerations when assessing tools and the one thing any solution should deliver but can never replace:  More time to give to your clients and the  personal attention that sets you apart from the crowd.  

Adam Boyer discusses: 

  • What to ask when upgrading your technology strategy
  • Hurdles small businesses face when integrating new technology 
  • How a thorough business evaluation will help improve long-term operations
  • Why a digital advice platform may be of interest to you and your business 
  • And more

Resources: 

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About Our Guest:

Adam Boyer is the Head of Business Development at Emontomy, the digital investment advice platform owned by Northern Trust Investments. He is responsible for defining and executing the sales strategy to accelerate the adoption and utilization of Emotomy by financial institutions. With over two decades of financial services industry experience, Adam has held a number of leadership positions, including his most recent roles at Charles Schwab as Head of Sales for Compliance Solutions and Chief of Staff to the Head of Bank Operations and Technology. Adam also spent many years at Bank of America where he helped build out the bank’s Chicago footprint. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Economics from Florida State University.


Ep 69: How to Keep a Client (Hint: It’s Not All About Money) – With Barbara Healy



Investors can build, manage and monitor their portfolios without ever talking to another human. So why do they choose an advisor? Personal connection. What makes them stay? A satisfying personal connection.

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Barbara Healy, Partner and Senior Financial Planner at Allworth Financial, about creating personal relationships with clients to build long-term advising partnerships.

Barbara discusses: 

  • Why knowing your clients makes such a difference 
  • Simple steps to make clients feel seen, heard and appreciated 
  • When money is the last thing to discuss
  • Diversifying the workplace to serve a diverse client base 
  • And more

Resources: 

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About Our Guest:

Barbara Healy is a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) with more than 25 years of experience in the financial planning sector. She holds a Business degree from the University of San Diego, and her adjunct education includes advanced courses in Economics and International Business at Oxford, England. An outdoor enthusiast, Barbara lives with her husband in Rocklin, California.


Ep 68: I’m Not a Therapist! When Clients Bring Up Emotional Issues – With Dr. Chloe Carmichael



For many, the pandemic has triggered varying degrees of stress, anxiety and depression. Addressing it in the context of an advisor/client relationship can be uncomfortable. What can you do when emotional health becomes part of the conversation? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with Dr. Chloe Carmichael, a clinical psychologist whose focus is stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem and coaching. Dr. Chloe shares some simple and supportive ways to recognize, acknowledge and talk about emotional health issues with a client.  

Dr. Chloe discusses: 

  • When does anxiety move from normal to a problem? 
  • Talking about it is a sign of health: Acknowledging, supporting, normalizing
  • Social anxiety: Tips on re-acclimating to in-person events 
  • How to use social media to get a copy of her most recent book
  • And more

Resources:

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About Our Guest:

​​Dr. Chloe Carmichael holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University. Her private practice focuses on stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem, and coaching. She is the author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of  Your Anxiety (St Martins Press, 2021).

 


Ep 67: GenX. They Need You. Now. – With Michael Labos



They are misunderstood, neglected and in a precarious situation. Why are so many financial planners not actively engaging with Gen X? 

In this episode, Laura Gregg and David Partain talk with a champion of the Gen X investor. What issues are challenging this generation and why should advisors pay attention? Michael Labos CFP®, CCFS®, and Principal at Gen X Wealth Partners, shares his passion for understanding the values, goals and behaviors of Gen X, and what they urgently need from you.

Michael discusses: 

  • The Gen X need and opportunity 
  • Why you have to use the “B” word 
  • Navigating the college planning process 
  • And more

Resources: 

Connect With Michael Labos:

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About Our Guest:

Michael Labos is the principal at Gen X Wealth Partners and has more than 15 years of experience in the financial service industry. He understands that investing is more than just focusing on risks and return – it’s about your values, goals, beliefs, and a voice wanting to be heard. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, Michael helps analyze every aspect of his clients’ financial lives. This includes assets, liabilities and cash flow budgeting, current insurance coverages, and investments.