Advisor Extenders Pose Omni Channel Management Challenges


The Kehrer Group 2023-2024 Annual Industry Checkup underscored the long-term reliance of financial institutions on advisor productivity gains to drive growth in the wake of flat advisor headcount.


Some banks and credit unions have been reluctant to pay up to match escalating recruiting bonuses.  The long-term decline in branch referrals is diluting a major advantage of joining a bank-based firm.  Firms are also losing advisors out the bank door, as advisor turnover in financial institutions remains higher than attrition in regional and national firms.  And some bank-based firms face headcount limits by the expense hawks in bank management.


Banks and credit unions appear to be responding by reviving the practice of licensing branch staff.  The number of licensed branch staff, commonly known as platform reps, increased for the first time in six years.


The turnaround is particularly pronounced in the Bank BDs, which had shed platform rep headcount by at least nine percent during each of the four previous years.  Bank BDs grew their licensed branch staff by 4% during 2023, while TPM partner institutions increased platform rep headcount by 1%.



Licensing branch staff is a way to reach additional institution customers, perhaps reinvigorate branch referrals, and provide tiered levels of service.


These “platform reps” are one example of what Kehrer Group calls advisor extenders, licensed personnel who can service clients with simple needs while helping to funnel the most promising prospects to the institution’s scarce financial advisors.  Other advisor extenders include sales assistants, associate advisors, and centralized/remote advisors.  Technology —digital advice platforms, AI-driven client servicing, data aggregation, etc. —can also optimize the time of the advisor while also improving back office efficiency.


If you’ve been to a doctor’s office recently, you probably didn’t even see a doctor.  Instead, there were physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered and licensed practical nurses, and technicians manning the diagnostic technology.  The advisor shortage is driving firms in the same direction.


But omni channel delivery of financial advice brings with it managerial, regulatory, technological, and data management challenges.  Hang on tight.


A common challenge of implementing and managing an omnichannel program is compensating the platform reps and advisors, according to Kristefor Lysne, President of Terrapin Technologies. “The challenge lies in tracking platform referrals and related transactions coming through the branches, which can be complicated without the right technology,” said Lysne. “But with data aggregation, compensation, and reporting tools, firms can easily track all these moving parts and compensate platform reps and advisors accordingly.”


About the Annual Checkup

Since 2012 Kehrer Group has combined proprietary and industry data to provide an annual review of the health of investment services in banks and credit unions. The data for this year’s report cover 2,450 of the banks and credit unions that provide investment services, which collectively manage 9,360 advisors.  This year’s study is sponsored by Financial Resources Group , Terrapin Technologies, and TruStage. Learn more.


About Terrapin Technologies

Terrapin Technologies provides data and business automation solutions to wealth management firms. Our platform automates and improves business processes across the organization, including compensation, compliance, and reporting. Since 1995, our expertise and technology solutions have helped our customers realize scalable and predictable growth. We help firms see the big picture, increase profits, and reduce risk.