Brent Weiss, CFP®, ChFC®, is the Chief Evangelist and one of the founding members of Facet Wealth, a national RIA that takes a personable and tailored approach to financial planning. Brent has a unique role that lets him fly his financial planning flag high as he advocates for innovation within the profession. During this interview, I sit down with Brent at this year’s annual FPA conference to talk about what he does at Facet, the importance of finding your niche in the profession, and how we can work together to redefine the next generation of wealth management.
Brent does a great job of inspiring action during our discussion as he shares his vision for making high quality financial advice more affordable and accessible to everyday families, as well as his ideas for inspiring the next generation of young CFP® professionals.
Challenging the status quo
For Brent, being Chief Evangelist is a way of life. He is, first and foremost, a champion and advocate for real, quality financial planning that is tailored to fit each clients’ unique challenges. He’s also an ambassador for next generation planning solutions and aims to inspire action in young CFP® professionals so they can bring innovative and sometimes crazy ideas to the table. The crazy ideas are often the things that lead to true innovation and disruption. His ultimate goal? To provide financial planning to diverse communities who don't currently have access. Brent is on a mission to help these families shift their financial identity to improve their health and wellness. For Brent, this meant breaking the financial planning mold and seeking out new, diverse solutions that weren’t so cookie-cutter.
After running a wealth management firm for close to a decade, he helped co-found a financial services firm where he can do just that. With the help of the diverse team at Facet Wealth, Brent challenges the status quo daily by inspiring the next generation to start movements and shake things up in the financial field. This passion is grounded on asking himself and those he works with a simple question: “How can I help?” He’s devoted to building a community where we can all work to find the answers together, but in order to do that we need to stop looking at the past and start asking if our advice is good or just “good enough.”
Looking to the future
In order to shift the perspective we have on financial planning, Brent realized that we could take a great deal of inspiration from the evangelists of Silicon Valley. Brent’s role as Chief Evangelist may be new to the financial planning profession, but technology companies in Silicon Valley have been using that role for years to come up with disruptive solutions. Part of Brent’s role at Facet is to show that it’s possible to build innovative world-class companies outside of the Valley and help clients find solutions that work for them. To further advance the CFP® profession, he suggests focusing on building a better financial life planning experience overall for the client.
In the financial planning profession, you have a fiduciary duty to your clients and a fiduciary duty to the profession. He brought up some important questions during our discussion: Are we building our processes to make sure we're helping the families that traditionally have not had access to this kind of advice? How can I challenge myself and actually deliver better experiences to my clients?
Brent believes the best way to learn is by challenging ourselves, and the answers to these questions are the foundation of the future for young CFP® professionals.
Finding your niche
According to Brent, the biggest step you can take towards empowering families and improving their experience is to keep it simple. Find where you’re most successful within the financial profession and claim it as your niche. Just as the medical profession has specialists for different ailments, you should hone in on one thing that drives a real meaningful impact for your clients. With a niche, you can provide a better experience and better outcomes by honing in on the area you can make the biggest difference.
Brent and the team at Facet focused on building a diverse team from the start so they could pair their clients with the CFP® that can provide the right advice. To Brent, this specialized approach is the most fulfilling way to advance the financial planning profession. He shares a lot of helpful tips and tricks for finding a niche during our time together, but my favorite tip was to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Stop saying yes to everything that comes to your door and only pick the things that are fulfilling and bring you success.
Supporting the next generation
During our talk, Brent explained the importance of investing in the next generation of CFP® professionals. The younger generation has the opportunity to specialize in something driving edge if they can embrace innovation and the idea that families don’t need bigger opportunities; they need better investments. This sometimes means coming up with ideas that fail, but that’s okay! Failure along the way, while unfortunate, is a good way for new professionals to learn and an opportunity for a leader in the financial planning field to coach them through it. Brent gives some great advice on challenging new CFP®s and giving them purpose. As a Chief Evangelist, he focuses on spreading this message and supporting the new generation by encouraging them to they try new things, test out crazy ideas, and find people who will support and mentor them into the next stage of their professional growth.
My main takeaway from our talk is that “kind of good” advice is no longer good enough. We should strive to come together as a community to generate new ideas, ask how we can help each other, and build a movement that makes financial planning more accessible and affordable for everyone. Brent’s passion for doing our part to make sure the next generation is prepared to take this task on is inspiring, and I’m glad that he could sit down for this interview to share his insights on how to use disruptive solutions to build a better workforce, a better client experience, and a better business longer term.
What You’ll Learn:
- What the financial planning profession can learn from Silicon Valley
- How to develop next generation talent
- The importance of diversity inclusion
- How to find and foster the right talent
- Why we should be empowering families & increasing access to financial planning
- The power of building professional relationships, rapport, and trust
- How to find your niche and flourish in it
- Creating the movement vs. supporting the movement
- The idea that we cannot advance our profession without innovation
- Tips on involving yourself in the community and other organizations
- Why failure is actually a good thing
- The value of working together to find solutions
- Why you should stop saying yes all the time
- What you can do to encourage young CFP® professionals
In this episode of YAFPNW, I talk to Brent Weiss about:
- His role as Chief Evangelist at Facet Wealth
- The impact of Guy Kawasaki and other Silicon Valley evangelists
- Simon Sinek’s amazing TEDTalk on how great leaders can inspire action
Want to follow Brent? You can find him on LinkedIn.