Planning & Productivity
17 MIN PODCAST
Advisors are always looking for ways to be more productive to free up time to focus on their clients. In this episode, Ray Evans of Pegasus Capital Management in Kansas City, Kansas, describes how his firm has worked with outside resources such as Pareto Systems and implemented SOPs so that each person in the firm is focusing on what they do best. He and his team of six associates manage just over $470 million, working with clients in the construction industry.
Evans has much to say, so we broke this interview into two parts. In this episode, he shares insight on his firm’s team-of-teams approach and how that has both helped him grow and also added energy and new ideas to his business.
We’ll also learn about how Evans tracks different measures of efficiency and productivity and how the firm then incorporates that into a dashboard for weekly meetings.
The benefits of a team of teams
About seven years ago, Evans mused to another advisor within the Commonwealth organization in Kansas City, saying, "Man, wouldn't it be fun to get under the same roof and see if the synergy we think that would happen, actually happens? And worst-case scenario, we just office together. And we see how that goes?"
It seems to have gone well. Their firms, along with others in the Commonwealth organization, came together in 2017 under the umbrella of the Infinitas Wealth Council. Evans said it’s enabled him and other advisors to chase business outside of Kansas City and around the country, and most importantly leverage their complementary skill sets. “We have an advisor who’s got an expertise working with families that have special needs family members,” he said. “Boy, is he talented and bright and smart and, you know, good-hearted.”
Another advisor’s practice focuses primarily on publicly traded companies and is a specialist in incentive stock options: “So, it’s very easy to drag him in when I encounter something like that.”
Being aligned with other advisors whose strengths you can call on creates opportunities that Evans said he would not otherwise have. “And it ties the client to us a little tighter, and a little different way, then him just working with me on his own personal investment stuff,” he said. “So, it’s kind of exciting.”
Building productivity with Pareto Systems
“I would love to tell you we had this all figured out before, but so much of our practice was in my head and in my director of operation's head,” Evans said. “We needed to document everything. … Did we have a process for most things? Yes. Did everybody know it besides me? No.”
Evans said he recognized the need to formalize and even standardize the way they do business, especially for newer and younger associates at the firm. It took about a year working with Pareto, evaluating each process they had and evaluating whether it was still the best way to approach a certain task or goal. “Let’s talk through it,” Evans said. “Are there best practices we can shamelessly steal from somebody else in the system?”
That process helped both those who are in client-facing roles and those with more operational ones to better understand and appreciate what each does. “[They] don’t know your process in front of a client, don’t know what you say in meeting two versus meeting one. Don’t know what you say at the strategic review meeting,” he said. “Having to go through that with the Pareto consultant … they got a much better understanding and appreciation for what we do. And I got a better appreciation that maybe I should have been more inclusive in that with them prior to this.”
Evans said he’s heard since he began his practice in 1984 that the advisor community is becoming obsolete, that there are “all kinds of ways for people to get investment advice.” But all of the alternatives, discount brokers and the like, lack a singular facet. “People want a conversation, and they want to be able to unload, particularly when they have anxiety that is financially driven,” he said. “Whether it’s bear markets, whether it’s ‘I’m buying my first house,’ they want to have a conversation with somebody who has some experience with that kind of stuff. So, I would say that there is a need for the advisory community continually to reach out verbally or face-to-face.”
Even with the Zoom fatigue we’re all feeling after a year of working from home and social distancing, “it’s way more fun seeing you and talking to you than just talking to you on the phone.” Still, he cautions not to rely too much on technology. “Somebody sends you an email … and I mean, I tend to immediately email them back,” Evans said. “I’m like, wait a minute. This is an opportunity to touch this guy” and pick up the phone.
Find part one of our conversation, The benefits of having a niche and an advisory board, with Ray Evans, for more on how his firm found an “accidental” niche in construction and how he created an advisory board that has helped him build his business over nearly three decades.