“Human capital management may not be glamorous but it is important and doing it well may not only make the advisor’s life easier, it can help avoid the usual traps that could stall a firm’s growth. Getting the human capital issues right is essential for advisors who have set their sights on exceeding $1 billion in assets and absolutely critical if they’re at $1 billion already,” said Gaze.

Getting these issues right is the focus of a practice management effort built around a new research-based study, Breakout Growth: Adding Key Positions to Unlock Growth Potential. This comprehensive program, integrated with TD Ameritrade Institutional’s other RIA services, features guidebooks, customized tools, regional workshops and webcasts featuring advisors from elite, high-performing firms.

“We will be sharing insights and lessons learned from advisors that are thriving, but didn’t necessarily get it right the first time. We hope to save other advisors from making the same mistakes,” Gaze said.

Three common missteps, she said, involve having unrealistic expectations for your new associate advisor; hiring a business manager but then not trusting them to manage the firm; and hiring managers who are not capable of building and running the bigger company you envision.


Many principals, themselves the product of Wall Street’s ‘sink or swim’ culture, expect new hires to immediately get up to speed and so they often become frustrated when they instead see a cost center that is not generating revenue. Yet associates can create tremendous value by freeing the lead advisor to spend more seeking new business. Firms that don’t take the time to develop new advisors only ensure they will suffer expensive turnover.

“When the principal has unrealistic expectations, it sows the seeds for a toxic work environment,” Gaze said. “Principals need to regard the associate as an investment for the future, a seed that needs to be watered and cultivated.”

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