Defining the Job - Business Management for Financial Advisers

When Moss Adams conducted its first FPA Compensation and Staffing Survey, we were shocked by how poorly defined the positions were in most firms. In fact, there was virtually no consistency in definitions and expectations across practices.

This hodgepodge is symptomatic of an immature industry and makes the management of staff a bigger challenge than it should be. A fundamental rule of business management tells us to define the roles, expectations, and accountability for each job so that we know what to evaluate and how to manage performance improvement.

Multitasking is the concept applied for small business. Most entrepreneurs treat their staff as human fodder, not giving much thought to what specific task is. So it becomes difficult to measure staff success.

Each job has different characteristics, which makes it essential to define the nature of job, how success will be measured and the qualities required fulfilling the job well. Depending on your strategy and client-service experience, jobs may need to be defined in the areas of

  • sales and marketing
  • client service
  • operations
  • compliance
  • investment advice and management
  • risk analysis and management
  • financial planning
  • estate planning
  • tax planning

The FPA Compensation and Staffing Study defines jobs in a number of categories, as outlined below (see “Job Responsibilities”). Some of these positions are more likely to be full-time jobs in larger firms but may be just a part of someone’s job in a smaller firm. For that reason, the study categorizes the jobs by function.

A “job” may ultimately be composed of multiple “functions.” Your firm may have functions in addition to the ones defined here and must develop more detailed descriptions of each job, describing the specific role and responsibilities within the firm, as well as the performance expectations.


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