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Creating a Scalable, Profitable Financial Planning Practice


As an advisor, you may employ a variety of models in different capacities for receipt of compensation from clients. Knowing these formats may help you make your best decision as you build your own advising practice.

It is important to remember that planning can be as quick or extensive as it fits your clients' needs, your business goals, and your lifestyle.

You may choose to offer one-time planning events, sketching out the bones of an end goal and the steps along the way that will bring your clients to that destination. If there is interest in revisiting that plan over time, you will likely engage in an ongoing relationship of planning throughout the years.

Remember, there is room for both of these as you strive to meet your client’s evolving needs.

Different Financial Models, And Why ACP Is Fee-Only

Some financial advisors lean into a fee-based model, employing a blended approach that incorporates a direct fee in conjunction with an additional commission compensation beyond.

Though helpful to an advisor, a client may find this leaves them in muddy waters with understanding the cost of financial advising. ACP focuses on streamlining this process for ACP advisors by placing you in a critical niche role providing a comprehensive service with a clearly defined compensation scope.

By providing a tailored fee-only format, ACP member advisors can move efficiently into the focus of their work and effectively financially plan their client’s future.

Other financial advisors may take a different approach and lean solely on commissions from investments, client referrals, or sales. Such commission rates may vary for advisors and incorporate a portion of the client funds before investment.

ACP advisors steer clear of the variables and keep the communication direct and straightforward. We have found this makes for more satisfied clients and makes running your practice much simpler. Our advisors have noted a transformation in their clients’ responses and the relationship development after adopting and committing to the fiduciary promise.

By putting the client’s best interest above yours, you can commit to them in a way that you couldn’t previously. Many advisors have seen a stronger, longer, and more fulfilling relationship with their clients as a direct result.

ACP’s Fee-Only Model

ACP member advisors are set up on a simple system that is strictly fee-only. Doing so affords a streamlined menu to establish and collect those fees.

Typically, advisors select from hourly, flat, and retainer fees. None of these options involve commissions.

Advisors break out of the traditional commission-based model and receive payment strictly from the client. Generally, an hourly fee is advantageous when leaning into that one-time planning session or advising when a client simply needs advice on a few investment topics. Flat fees are a natural progression, allowing you as the advisor to bundle services and provide direct financial advice.

Fee-only services are not tied to the investments but do allow you the opportunity to target support and tailor the delivery to the varied and evolving needs of clients. You may even find the flexibility of offering a retainer fee format as a fluid option for your client.

Securing a set retainer on hand and setting aside a scope of hours to offer a variety of services as the need arises may be enticing and supportive to the client as you move forward to provide value.

The fee-only format has proven highly effective for ACP member advisors. ACP helps you and your clients go further together. You can approach your client's needs from a targeted or comprehensive lens and tailor the fees accordingly.

Establish Your Niche

Of course, to get clients, you need to market your services! Once you have established the framework of fee-only compensation, you will be ready to turn your focus to the calculated services you can provide as an advisor.

Staying broad may be useful to start, but digging in, identifying your niche, and targeting your marketing efforts at your niche will help you to build a scalable, high-quality service that is worth the premium.

Broad and shallow may let you get your feet wet in financial advising, but when you are ready to take the deep dive and create a specific experience, crafting your niche marketing approach will take you on an exciting adventure.

ACP is here to help and provides the necessary support for member advisors, walking hand-in-hand to get your business off the ground, providing a foundation of proven and reliable systems as you build your advising practice and start bringing in clients.

An excellent way for people to know if you are the right fit for them is to use case studies on your website to illustrate the type of person you serve best. Testimonials are also fantastic for people to hear from you about how this can be a rewarding, profitable career path.

Members of ACP have found that through our training materials, financial planning resources, coaching opportunities, community, networking, and general philosophy, they have been able to grow both as advisors and people. Schedule a call with team member today to determine if ACP is right for you!