An Interview with Bill Hansing Q: What are representatives searching for when they decide to go independent?Bill Hansing, President of Financial Partners: Producers that join us are successful professionals with a strong desire for independence and the ability to provide service to their clients and achieve financial success. At Financial Partners that includes the ability to control their own environment without concern about changes in direction at the broker-dealer. Many producers want to grow and build equity in their own business and they commit the resources necessary to create the greatest value for their clients. One producer, speaking of his previous firm, said, "It is not the 60 cents of every dollar they took that bothered me, it's what they spent it on."Hansing explains, "Financial Partners aims to play in the space exactly between being with a career comapny and being totally independent. We try to be in the middle with the best of each aspect that other distribution systems offer. Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach program once commented that 95% of the producers who have left their career company to go independent probably shouldn't be totally independent. They shouldn't go back to a career company -- but they should not be totally independent. They did that as a knee-jerk reaction to being discontent. Sullivan states that there should be a good option that sits between those two other alternatives. That's who we are -- from our name (Financial Partners) to everything we do as part of our value proposition -- we try to support a producers practice so it grows and even evolves into truly a business."Q: What are the most important qualities a producer should have to be successful with your firm?Hansing: Like successful producers at most firms, FP representatives are self-motivated and relationship oriented. We have a support structure in place that allows representatives to leverage their time and focus on what they do best, managing and expanding client relationships. We are not the firm for someone who is looking for salaried positions or micromanaging. By the very definition of who we are, we don't go there.Additionally, I think it is important to point out that we are best when we work with producers who are still open to coaching. Tiger Woods has a coach! Harry Connick, Jr. has a voice coach! Julia Roberts has a fitness AND acting coach and all successful teams performing at high level have top notch quality coaches! Who is your coach?Each of the individuals I have mentioned are arguably among the best in their respective fields. Yet, even with all of their natural talent, they still seek and retain the best coaches to allow them to stay at the top of their game. We need to be working with people who are equally open to getting even better. Candidly, there are times when that is the point that gets missed or not emphasized enough if that happens then what we can do to most help people doesn't occur.Q: What do you offer representatives in terms of ongoing support?Hansing: First, we offer what we believe to be the highest level of cost effective personal service to our representatives and their staff. Second, we can offer through our third party relationships a wide selection of financial products, as well as innovative fee-based asset management programs. Third, our coaching team can provide representatives with useful objective information and ideas, including individual practice recommendations through a program we call "The Strategic Practice". Finally, all this is delivered through state-of-the-art, Internet-based technology designed for the producer, their staff and their clients.Our value proposition revolves around the five points:(1) Coaching (2) Innovative Products (3) Unique Marketing System (4) Open Architecture (5) CommunityQ: Are there any particular areas in which your firm excels?Hansing: Most firms have a strength in a particular area. Financial Partners is a premier provider of extensive practice management and coaching for wherever a particular producer is at in the various stages of the development of their career. What I have discovered is that the better the producer, the more open they are to authentic, meaningful coaching. When one thinks of the top people of any other profession - like a Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods - they are still trying to get better and stay connected to coaching. Too often, the better producers i our industry are left with trying to figure out for themselves how to grow their practice to higher and higher levels. They want to grow and do more for their clients. They want to create a future that is bigger than anything they have done in the past. They have the cost of "support" factored into their compensation, yet their company leaves them alone because they don't know what to do to help them or are so focused on other problems. We have a high-end program to help producers manage their practice across the spectrum of their evolving career.Q: Describe your technology.Hansing: We provide high-end, user-friendly tools designed to cost effectively manage and market the representative's business.Q: What can Financial Partners offer that some other arrangement cannot?Hansing: At Financial Partners, the producer truly owns and builds equity into every aspect of their own business, which they can pass on or sell. The only branding that matters is of the producer and their business. Secondly, we offer no proprietary mutual funds, allowing for truly objective support for the representative and their clients. Thirdly, we can match any firms payout. Plus we make no claims that these are "our clients" -- the clients are yours and everyone will acknowledge that all along.Q: How has the emergence of the Internet affected your business?Hansing: Moore's Law says the speed, power and capability of the microchip will double every eighteen months. This new reality will have its most profound effect on the financial services industry. The Internet coupled with legislative changes that have occurred has altered the landscape of financial services. Producers need to be thinking about how they brand themselves and their practice. They need to be thinking about blending their traditional services with the products offered through financial institutions. They need to be thinking about the strategic steps they should take to raise the bar on their practice so they can complete in a whole new world that was made possible through technology.Q: How does your firm help representatives meet the challenges of transition from their old firm to yours?Hansing: This is the first opportunity we get to show people how we shine. The advice provided by our highly trained transition staff can save a producer thousands of dollars. The FP transition staff assists representatives in making smart decisions on every aspect of setting up their office infrastructure, both efficiently and cost effectively. With representatives having joined FP from many different broker-dealers, we have the experience to help representatives prosper immediately. We also are one of the few firms out there who can provide some support money to a producer while they work through this transition.Q: What makes your firm unique?Hansing: Being the best place a producer can turn to, to truly grow their practice. Everything we do is centered on helping an advisor either eliminate dangers, focus on opportunities and to give them a very clear path and plan to get from where they are to where they want to be. So many firms talk about adding value but cannot articulate what they do in real specific terms. We think that adding value is our most unique ability.