Broker Check

Brian Heapps, CLU® , ChFC® interviews Osaic Executive, Erinn Ford

Hello IFG Advisors:
Brian:
I happened to wrangle Erinn Ford in the lobby of a hotel. We were coincidentally attending a meeting together. Erinn is running all of the independent advisors at Osaic. As the journey to one is coming together, the broker dealer presidents are now reporting to Erinn, who is creating a plan of action to bring all of us together. I asked Erinn if she would spend a few minutes to be on our newsletter for this month, and she agreed to it. So thank you, Erinn, very much appreciate a few minutes of your time here in the hotel lobby.
Erinn:
Thank you for having me.
Brian:
Erinn is one of the corporate executives of the national advisory board that I serve on. There are other corporate leaders on the NAB as well. They take the input that you relay to me and I make sure the board knows what your current issues are. They use that to help formulate decisions and things that they're doing at the corporate level from a strategy perspective. I really wanted to focus in today with Erinn on a few of the things that we were faced with. Second, get the state of where we're going with things and then any final comments Erinn might have. So, I'm gonna come in hot first and say we're having some operational challenges with the support center, etc. Can you speak to that at all? What's being done to hurry up and fix some of those things?
Erinn:
Absolutely. Well, and I think really the core being focusing on service is really important. And so I would say in the short term, three things because it's all about removing the friction in the environment for the advisors. Firstly, we're dealing with known issues and working closely with vendors to prevent any future outages or downtime. Secondly, the national operational excellence council, with Brian's valuable contribution, has identified several areas of friction. Last year, we focused on resolving 70 such areas, and this year, we're implementing enhancements for 2024 that will further improve the environment.
Lastly, we're investing in training. Ahead of tax time, the service team has received 10,000 hours of training. Additionally, Josh introduced a new life events team to handle complex beneficiary transfers. We want to ensure our team provides accurate and timely one-and- done solutions
Brian:
Yesterday we had the luxury of hearing Jamie speak at our meeting, and he was talking about the “pre-hiring project” ahead of current employee attrition. Do you think that that's having an impact now with hiring people that are now fitting into the culture and helping to fix what we're talking about here with some of the service issues?
Erinn:
It really is, and why, Brian, that's so critical is that a lot of times in organizations like ours, you wait to hire, right? And then there's always gap time between having someone hired and when they're ready to start on the phones. This way of hiring allows us that time to make sure that we're hiring ahead of the need that's just now starting to kick in. So that's going to create an ease in the environment.
Brian:
Well, we're looking forward to that. And anything we can do to help, what we're gonna continue to do for you is provide you feedback as things are going good and when things are not going so good. And then you can pass that along to the appropriate people. I know you're not in charge of everything in terms of ops and technology. We have Tim Hodge who came over to help fix that and certainly is capable.
Let's dive into the second question, which is technology. Since I've been here when we came over from Signator in 2018, technology today is far better than it was, no question about it. And we can see the investments that are being made, but with those investments being made in the new technology, what we're also seeing is the occasional friction point where it's just not working as advertised. Or, it had a unintended consequence to my client. Can you speak to what Jamie was talking about yesterday with the AGILE approach of rolling things out?
Erinn:
Absolutely. And I think your point, when you think about when you came over from Signator, that was prior to "There are advisors.
We had the opportunity to hear Jamie speak yesterday, and he mentioned pre-hiring to address attrition. How do you think this proactive approach to hiring is impacting our ability to address service issues? It's making a significant difference. In organizations like ours, hiring is often reactive, leading to gaps between hiring and training. By pre-hiring, we have time to bring in new employees before the need arises. This helps create a smoother environment. We're looking forward to the positive impact this approach will have. We'll continue to provide feedback to support your efforts. While you're not directly responsible for operations and technology, we have Tim Hodge overseeing those areas, and we believe he's capable of addressing any concerns. Now, let's move on to the second question about technology. Since I joined in 2018, we've made significant advancements in technology, but occasionally, issues arise with new systems impacting clients negatively. Can you elaborate on Jamie's comments yesterday regarding the approach to rolling out new technology? Certainly. When you joined us from Signature, technology was at a different stage. Jamie's point is that we've made substantial progress since then. However, with new technology, challenges can arise, and we understand that some clients may have experienced unintended consequences. Moving forward, we are focusing on a more deliberate approach to rolling out technology, ensuring thorough testing and addressing any potential issues before widespread implementation. We want to minimize any negative impact on our clients and ensure a smooth transition. Thank you, Erinn, for providing insights into these important matters. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we conclude? Thank you for having me. It's been great to be here with the team. I appreciate the opportunity to address these topics, and I'm always open to feedback and suggestions. Together, we can continue improving our services and operations.

Thank you, Erinn, for your time and valuable input.
Brian B. Heapps, CLU, ChFC