Changing the Path to Partnership
Becoming a partner is the end goal for many in the financial advisory field. But in an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated and often solely focused on producing revenues, finding the path to partnership can be challenging, especially for those who don’t fit the conventional mold that has prevailed for decades.
Heather Robertson Fortner, CEO of SignatureFD says it’s time to change the conversation.
“The traditional path to partnership in financial advisory firms focuses on those in client-facing or revenue-producing roles,” says Heather. “But where does that leave financial planners, subject matter experts (SMEs), researchers or those in operations? We need to expand to include people who serve in all types of roles in our industry and focus on the value that they bring to the table. The career trajectory to partnership can’t be afforded to only certain types of roles – we need to be role-agnostic.”
Heather speaks from personal experience as her own path at SignatureFD was far from traditional. She started in 2003 as a Client Care Associate in Operations and moved all the way to becoming a partner and Chief Compliance Officer in 2005, the Chief Operating Officer in 2014 and CEO in 2020.
“Women typically opt-out before they reach the C-Suite. I’m not sure I would have made it without my strong support system,” she says. “Change is crucial if the financial industry wants to retain talented people and help grow their careers.”
Despite these issues, Heather believes the financial industry is making strides toward creating a new business model and becoming more inclusive.
Join us as Heather and premiere financial thought leader Michael Kitces, publisher of the Nerd’s Eye View blog, discuss Heather’s unconventional success story and her desire to transform the financial advisory industry.
Listen to the podcast here: www.kitces.com/68
What You’ll Learn in This Podcast Episode:
- What makes SignatureFD’s unique business model work.
- How the firm chooses which niche to go after next.
- What SignatureFD’s diamond teams are and how they benefit.
- What Heather says always leads to a better product.
- The three components that make up wealth, according to SignatureFD.
- Why the firm uses an industrial psychologist as part of its final screening process.
- What she says we need to be able to do as advisors.
- The common idea that Heather wants to change in the industry as a whole.
- Advice for people in operations roles within advisory firms who hope to become a partner.
At SignatureFD, we believe that people want to make an impact with their wealth – their time, their money and their relationships. SignatureFD is a purpose-driven financial design company that helps clients design their financial futures to maximize their impact. Founded in 1997, SignatureFD provides comprehensive financial services, decision-support, specialized communities and resources that are delivered with fee transparency and objective, independent advice.