In an exclusive interview, EBA’s 2015 Adviser of the Year Tim Olson describes “the single biggest thing” advisers should avoid if they want to grow their business. Also, Olson, managing partner at The Olson Group, shares how advisers can make money on licensing fees with little outward spend.

[Click here to watch this interview in video format.]

What has gotten you to this point?

I think the No. 1 thing that advisers should look at is working in a consultative manner and consultative services. The single biggest thing that we have done over the last three years is gotten away from commissions and focused more on working with risk management on a consultative basis. We really look at our customers, how to avoid risk, mitigate risk, transfer risk and just assume the risk.

What do brokers need to do to become a 21st Century adviser?
I think what advisers need to do is look at what’s available out there from a technology standpoint. Also, what kind of tools that provide solutions for their employers. For example, we got licensing fees for a module that calculates every provision in the 3,000 pages of reconciliation in House bills. We got an electronic enrollment platform that brings ACA solutions to our employers as well.

Also see:Who is EBA’s 2015 Adviser of the Year?

And then over on the retirement side, we got the licensing fees for an RPAY module that has a five-year fiduciary fitness program. It helps our employers with scorecard analysis for their investments, benchmarking, fees, B3 Provider Analysis of other retirement vendors. There are some solutions out there where they don’t have to spend a lot of money, but just get the licensing fees for some of these platforms and modules.

What is the biggest mistake a broker can make?

I think the No. 1 thing is, if a broker, the only value they bring to their customer is they can go out and shop and get the lowest bid, and they don’t focus on the services that they’re going to provide for their employers, I think that model is gone. And focusing on the consultative model I think is where the direction is going.

Also see:Cracking the agency growth code.”

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