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"Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have."
― Pat Summitt

This page discusses Performance Management for the Financial Advising Services (FAS) vertical market. We also highlight best practice documents related to FAS Performance Management for both specific roles and organization-wide applications.

Most Financial Advisors operate as "dependent entrepreneurs." Because of their service and product affiliations, they are dependent on larger organizations where services and products are offered and managed for clients. Yet, they operate independently in managing their practices and growing their client networks and financial assets. Thus, Managing Principals and Financial Advisors are not necessarily skilled in managing support staff, particularly as it relates to performance management. There is often a notable lack of consistency, cohesiveness and accountability. Team members may not be held accountable because intangible performance measures have not been translated into tangible expectations that can be observed and measured.

Communique Productions, a boutique consultancy specializing in learner-centered and activity-based training, is one of Flevy's premiere authors. Communique has worked with over 175 clients and completed over 3,000 talent development and management consulting projects, including a multitude in the Financial Advising Services (FAS) space. Over the years through their FAS client engagements, Communique has developed an FAS Performance Management System.


The tools provided for the Operations Manager to manage performance beyond the position-specific descriptions and performance expectations and performance assessments are as follows:

"Soft Skills" Interviewing Instrument

This instrument enables interviewers to effectively communicate values and soft skills important to the organization’s culture and operations. The questions provided measure soft skill competencies during the hiring and selection process. Specific questions are recommended for evaluating the following:

  • job expectations
  • client care
  • diversity and inclusion
  • communication
  • team orientation
  • organizational skills
  • problem-solving
  • project-related skills
  • learning process
    • educational/work experience
    • goals
    • qualities/characteristics/presentation
    • job experience/related skills

    The rating system options allow interviewers to choose how finely they want to delineate among numerous candidates. Interviewers are able to objectively identify the most qualified candidates who will contribute more effectively to the organization's culture, delivery standards and teamwork.

    We highly recommend sharing the applicable position description and performance expectations, the performance assessment and the Client Care Process Standards and Quality Metrics with candidates so there is no question regarding what is expected and how performance is measured.

    This instrument enables interviewers to effectively measure "soft skill" competencies during the hiring and selection process. Specific questions are recommended for [read more]

    Client Care Process Standards and Quality Metrics

    This reference lists services provided, potential issues requiring troubleshooting and detailed quality standards and metrics for the following:

    This reference lists services provided, potential issues requiring troubleshooting and detailed quality standards and metrics for the following: * Calendar [read more]

    For Interaction Outcomes Review, following are examples for recording notes during interactions:

    For Calendar Management, following are examples for reviewing and organizing calendars :

    Daily/Weekly Staff Meeting Agenda and Minutes Template: This tool focuses on specific performance measures and keeps team members accountable for results. It is difficult to attend multiple meetings and not report progress before peer pressure and non-compliance place pressure on non- or low-performers to improve their personal efforts and outcomes.

    Managing Principals and/or Operations Managers may use this tool to ensure consistent communication, reporting and accountability among team members. Depending upon the size [read more]

    Individual Weekly Activity Tracking Log

    Team members use the log to track and report on their daily activities submitting the complete log weekly for compilation. The Operations Manager can quickly identify issues requiring attention and make adjustments as needed.

    Compiled Weekly Productivity and Accountability Tracking

    The Operations Manager or Managing Principal collects the individual weekly activity tracking logs and compiles them onto this comprehensive log. This information is used to identify performance gaps and to more effectively manage resources in circumstances when there are higher volumes of activity in specific areas. As business continues to grow, and the volume of activities are sustained, the information may also be used to determine when expanding the employee base in necessary to still meet quality standards and metrics.

    Managing Principals and/or Operations Managers may use these tools to compile and track performance results: 1. Individual team members track their daily activities and total [read more]

    Individual Development Plan Template

    This Plan is tied to the Performance Assessment and ensures continued development. Development items can include those that increase competencies for the current position as well as those competencies required for promotional consideration.

    Performance Goals 1-on-1 Coaching Worksheet

    Tied to assessment performance goals, this worksheet is used to report progress, address a non-performance issue or incident and document timeframes and actions for improvement.

    Non-Performance Incident Coaching Guidelines and Worksheet

    Utilized when there are incidents of non-performance. The process for implementation is described and the worksheet is completed and reviewed with the team member who also has input regarding objectives and timeframes for improvement including what steps will be taken to demonstrate progress.

    These templates and worksheets involve three items: The Financial Advising Services Individual Development Plan Template is tied to the Performance Assessment and ensures [read more]

    Associate Financial Advisor and Operations Manager Sample Improvement Goals

    The Associate Advisor’s and Operations Manager’s sample improvement goals promote skill development that not only builds competencies, but also potentially facilitates positive client and work relationships as well as business growth.

    When coaching team members to succeed, it's important to be specific about what is needed for improvement including specific actions, metrics and expected outcomes and results. [read more]

    Performance-Based Compensation and Bonus Guidelines

    This reference details specific opportunities for staff to earn additional compensation and bonuses. Specific activities and measures are provided so that the firm does not find itself in a defensive posture when individuals request more pay. The firm can recognize and acknowledge those who are deserving. Additionally, the firm is held accountable to consistently apply performance-based criteria for compensation and bonuses and not take advantage of high performers.

    Sample Client Care Support Team Compensation Plan: This reference details low-, mid- and high-range compensation categories including salary, benefits, requirements, skills and additional bonus opportunities for the following:

    • Operations Manager
    • Lead Financial Planner
    • Licensed Case Analyst and Trader
    • Business Processor
    • Client Care Specialist
    • Calendar Manager and Meeting Preparer
    • Client Concierge and Office Coordinator
    • Marketing and Branding Coordinator

    Salary ranges may be driven by geographical economic conditions including cost of living. Benefits in this sample plan include the employer’s portions associated with Social Security, 401K contributions, disability and medical insurance, pension contributions and time off for vacations, sick time, etc.

    This reference provides specific guidelines for establishing measures to determine performance-based compensation and bonuses. Included are: - Considerations for bonuses - [read more]

    Staff Satisfaction Survey

    This instrument is designed to be administered by the Operations Manager or Managing Principal. It takes a “snapshot” of a point in time to measure the morale of staff. Outcomes are important for the firm to take seriously so that management issues, conflicts among staff and potential for increased turnover may be identified and addressed. The survey can be taken during different periods, such as when everything is running smoothly, when there is stress associated with high volumes of work and when there are noted increases in turnover. To ensure survey credibility, outcomes should be reported to those participating, and when deficiencies are identified, actions that will be taken are developed, communicated and implemented. (Not addressing outcomes negatively impacts perceptions staff have of management as well as impacts the validity of future survey outcomes when staff have little faith that any improvement will be realized.)

    Take a "snapshot" of how your team members feel about the organization, its management, and support received to be successful.


    Karen Reitor and Communiqué Productions have worked with Financial Advising firms in Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Maine. We, according to one Principal, "move the entire organization to a new level, from superior to exceptional." To achieve the complete transformation, we facilitate change and provide the necessary framework and support to achieve the vision. New position descriptions, a revised compensation plan including a bonus program recognizing high-performance and contributions for tangible results, and performance assessments measure the technical and soft skill aspects of each role and position. Karen Reitor earns the respect of all of the team members, invites and utilizes their input, and works productively with team members to implement the significant changes necessary to support growth.

    Each firm identified communication and quality control issues representing opportunities for improvement whereby Karen Reitor and Communiqué Productions facilitated solutions. Examples include the following:

    • Checks are received and are not acknowledged resulting in no action.
    • Inconsistent scheduling negatively impacting productivity and growth.
    • Unacceptable number of errors in scanning, recordkeeping and data entry.
    • Lack of referrals and not following up on referrals in a timely manner.
    • consistently conducting research and adequately preparing for client interactions.
    • Constant calendar changes with very short notice.

    Specific feedback from team members includes the following:

    “I will take responsibility of my actions, my workload, and my attitude and ensure I do all I can to ensure the success of the team.”

    “This will facilitate individual awareness and commitment to service as a team effort.”

    “We can be more respectful to team members and their needs and have a greater impact on growing the practice by working together.”
    “We are owning or job responsibilities, working together to accomplish tasks and have great attitudes and are committed to producing quality work.”

    “Our staff better understands the ‘big picture’ and their roles in it.”

    “The re-grouping and restructuring have resulted in a better work environment, better client care and significant growth.”

    “We are thinking about the clients first.”

    Communique has developed a suite of 27 best practice documents on FAS Performance Management. These are available individually or as a discounted bundle. See below for further details.


    Financial Advising Services (FAS) Performance Management (Bundle)

    The FAS Performance Management (Bundle) includes 27 best practice documents, including guides, templates, and forms.

    This entire Financial Advising Services Performance Management Process is designed to transform cultures and enhance Client Care while holding staff accountable. Most importantly, typically performance expectations and measurements are intangible and difficult to substantiate. Numerous tangible, observable and measurable criteria are provided for each position.

    This Performance Management Process is used to achieve the following:

    • Communicate performance expectations during the hiring and interviewing process so candidates can assess their desire and ability to commit to the established standards and metrics.
    • Continually monitor, document, and track performance.
    • Identify knowledge gaps and document opportunities for continued development.
    • more
    On the left is a preview of the FAS Client Care Process Standards and Quality Metrics guide. This document addresses issues where client care breaks down and take immediate action to resolve situations. It is just 1 of the 27 best practice documents included in the bundle.

    Add to Cart View Details

    This is a partial preview of the full document.


    Below, we have listed the most popular documents from the Financial Advising Services Performance Management (Bundle).


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