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Building a winning team: A key to a financial advisor’s growth

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Every September, we host an exclusive event for financial advisors at a picturesque dude ranch in Wyoming. During our most recent gathering, we asked attendees to share their top challenges in today’s advisory landscape. Overwhelmingly, the top three challenges identified were: creating capacity in their day, driving practice growth, and effectively delegating tasks to team members.

What I find most eye-opening is how interconnected these challenges are; it’s nearly impossible to achieve success in one area without addressing the others. Achieving growth requires delegating tasks effectively to maintain a high quality of service and create capacity for focusing on new business opportunities. Similarly, creating more time in your day is essential for pursuing growth initiatives and nurturing your team’s development.

Interestingly, there’s one solution that can address all three of these intertwined challenges—building a winning team. You might be thinking that forming a team seems daunting or complicated. And truth be told, 90% of advisors managing less than $100 million in AUM don’t have a team structure, according to a 2023 study. But here’s the kicker: a team-based approach can propel bigger and faster growth.

In fact, that same research found that firms with teams tend to grow faster than those without. An overwhelming 84% of top advisers—those with assets under management exceeding $500 million—strongly agreed that having a team contributes to the growth of their business. Teamwork really does make the dream work.

How to build a winning team

When it comes to building a winning team structure, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. I’ve seen successful teams built in various ways, each tailored to suit unique goals, strengths, and growth objectives. The key is finding the approach that works best for you.

3 types of advisor teams

Vertical Operational Team

Some advisors thrive with a vertical ‘operational’ team structure, where a lead advisor oversees associate advisors and support staff. This setup allows you to maintain control over client relationships and investment decisions while promoting operational growth. By providing “more hands” to handle various tasks, you can focus on nurturing client relationships and driving your practice’s success.

Horizontal Specialized Team

Others find success with a horizontal ‘specialized’ team structure with more than one advisor. This collaborative approach encourages team members to share expertise and work together on client relationships and decision-making. It can be especially beneficial for practices prioritizing a diverse range of skills and perspectives – and to expand the services your firm can provide.

Next Gen Team

A third option worth considering is the Next Gen team structure. These teams prioritize investing in the growth and professional development of junior advisors, ensuring business continuity and long-term success. By fostering a culture of learning and collaboration, you can cultivate “new hands” to rejuvenate and eventually replace retiring team members. As experienced lead advisors train and mentor younger advisors, they not only benefit from fresh ideas but also establish a natural succession plan that safeguards the practice’s longevity and stability.

Being a team-oriented lead advisor is what really matters.

As you’re weighing different team structures for your advisory practice, keep this in mind: being a team-oriented lead advisor is what really matters. It’s important to create a thriving work environment, promote open communication, build trust, and recognize the unique strengths of each team member. By doing so, you’ll empower your team to work together, leveraging their diverse skills to deliver top-notch client service.

We’re here to support you.

Remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Our team is here to support you in determining the most effective structure for your practice, helping you make the best decisions for your unique goals and strengths.


Information provided herein reflects Frontier’s views as of the date of this presentation and can change at any time without notice.

This information has been prepared by Frontier based on data and information provided by internal and external sources. While we believe the information provided by external sources to be reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Nor should their use be construed as an endorsement.

Frontier Asset Management is a Registered Investment Adviser. The firm’s ADV Brochure and Form CRS are available at no charge by request at or 307.673.5675 and are available on our website They include important disclosures and should be read carefully.

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