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How Wealth Management Firms Can Thrive Through Consultancy

Updated: Jun 15, 2023


Marc Butler

Marc Butler is the Founder and Consultant of Marc Butler Consultancy, a consultancy firm that helps wealth management and wealth tech firms improve their growth and performance. He is a respected global business and financial services executive with demonstrated success in start-ups and financial technology companies.


Marc is also a contributing writer at Advisor Perspectives, the leading interactive publisher for wealth managers and financial advisors. He was previously the President of Skience and is an active board member at Future Capital, SIGNiX, and AdvisorBid.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Marc Butler explains his introduction to the fintech industry

  • How he achieved his greatest accomplishments

  • The problems Marc Butler Consultancy is solving

  • Marc shares his insights around data management

  • The impacts of AI in any industry

  • The value of being a people-first leader

  • Why should you have mentors as a leader?

In this episode…


Do you wish to unlock your potential and make your wealth management firm more efficient and scalable? What can you do to improve your growth and performance?


Financial services professionals encounter challenges while fully helping their customers transform their finances. Due to evolution in the business space, many face technology and integration problems. Marc Butler recommends hiring consultants to take control of their data and start delivering proper solutions to their customers. He shares his journey in the fintech industry as a consultant.


In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker sits down with Marc Butler, Founder and Consultant of Marc Butler Consultancy, to discuss how financial services firms can thrive through consultancy. Marc explains how he got into the fintech industry as a consultant, the problems Marc Butler Consultancy is solving, and his insights around data management and AI.


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Sponsor for this episode...


This is brought to you by Quik!


At Quik!, we provide forms automation and management solutions for companies seeking to maximize their potential productivity.


Our vision is to become the leading forms automation company by making paperwork the easiest part of every transaction.


Meanwhile, our mission is to help the top firms in the financial industry raise their bottom line by streamlining the customer experience with automated, convenient solutions.


Go to www.quickforms.com to learn more, or contact us with questions at support@quikforms.com.


Episode Transcript:


Intro 0:02

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.


Richard Walker 0:12

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, The Customer Wins where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win, and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Some of my past guests have included Cody Foster of Advisors Excel, and David Knoch, CEO of Docupace. Today I'm really excited to talk to Marc Butler an industry veteran and founder of Marc Butler Consulting. Now today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in forums automation, when the last step to earning your clients business requires filling out paperwork don't ruin a good relationship with a bad experience. Instead, get Quik! Forms make filling out forms a great experience and the easiest part of your transaction visit quikforms.com to get started. Alright, look, I've known Marc Butler here for most of my career at Quik! from back when he was a managing director at Pershing to CEO at all bridge and then President and CEO of Skience who is also one of our business partners. Marc is a board member of several organizations including SIGNiX, another one of my partner's future capital and advisor bid. He's an active contributing writer and well-known leader having served in the roles of President, COO, Managing Director and more the best firms in our industry. In fact, I don't think our industry would be the same without Marc's continued passionate focus on improving wealth management. So if you don't know Marc, you should let's get to know him more. Marc, welcome to The Customer Wins.


Marc Butler 1:38

Rich thanks for having me. I love your sponsor lead in what a great sponsor, the folks that Quik! are awesome. And I think about when we met back many years ago, over breakfast tacos somewhere in Southern California. And I was just enamored with everything that you wanted to do with Quik!. And I'm always enamored with advisors who decided to become FinTech leaders, because I think they know the real problems that need to be solved. So thanks for the friendship and the partnership and look forward to spending some more time together.


Richard Walker 2:18

Yeah, thank you. Marc, real quick, before we jump into this, just in case somebody who hasn't been hearing heard our episodes before, I want them to know. But what we do, we're talking to business leaders like yourself, about how you help customers win, how you build delivered great customer experiences, and the challenges to growing their own companies. You have such a breadth of knowledge that you bring to this conversation. So I'm super excited to hear from you, and what you've been doing. And where do we get started with this? I mean, if we go back to the beginning days, yeah, I was an advisor, who came out of tech and said, I don't want to fill out paperwork ever again. So I landed back in tech, how did you get started in this industry?


Marc Butler 2:58

I figured out when I was I was working at Lehman Brothers. When I first started in Kmart at Syracuse University. And one of the things that I figured out very quickly at Lehman Brothers was that all these things were getting automated by technology. Things were just changing rapidly, like the systems were coming in one day, they weren't there the next day, they were there. And so I had an opportunity to join a business unit that at the time nobody had heard of. And people at Lehman Brothers thought I was absolutely crazy for joining something called PC Financial Network, which was one of the original online discount brokerages except the difference was It was owned by Pershing. And it was this great group of, of people and peers that were of a similar age. And I just I figured out quickly that it wasn't about finance, finance was quickly going to become about finance plus technology. And as a tech as a finance major. That was a really important realization. So I joined Pershing PC Financial Network, which became DLJ Direct, which most people are familiar with that eventually went public. But what Pershing said is, hey, can we take all of these great things we did in DLJ Direct and can we offer these things to our clients and so out of that came something called net exchange. And we started a couple variations of net exchange that still live on today. Net x we 60 net X investor people kind of know these industry names, you know, I was with those things very early on. And then we acquired Allbridge and I joined the average team and a couple years later started leading that and then as you mentioned I was with Skience for a little bit. And in between there. I've served on a couple of advisory boards and a couple of boards. And since then I've started my own consulting practice over the last couple of months. So that's the journey that I've been on.


Richard Walker 5:15

I don't think I realized I don't think I knew actually how similar our startups were in where we came from, because when I was in college, I was in love with financial services. And so I went to work at John Hancock, were a top 75 annuity producer. I was her personal assistant. I had an office were all the interns were jealous of me because I had my own office. I did cold calls for her, that all sorts of stuff. I then went to work for a stockbroker at Kidder Peabody, which then became Paine Webber during the whole Joe Jett episode, so I worked for a top-performing stockbroker and their team. I then went on to Transamerica. I worked in the 401k pension Marketing Group and I evaluated all the 401 K's in the industry compared and contrasted them, and I went to Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette investment banking, my senior year of college. And look, I wasn't an AI banker, I wished I had been, but I worked in word processing. This is how I got my typing speed to 115 words per minute. I read all the decks, I read all the deals before they came out, I understood how the banking system was working. And I had all this incredible background to fuel my finance degree at USC. And then I went to Arthur Andersen and became a technologist. And then I came back and said, I'm done with tech. After several years, I'm gonna become a financial advisor, because I love finance. I love helping people achieve their goals. But man, when this paperwork thing came up, I said, okay, I got to embrace the technology side of me and go for it. And I just went down a different path.


Marc Butler 6:51

Yeah, well, that's awesome.


Richard Walker 6:54

Interesting that you started down that and then stuck with it.


Marc Butler 6:58

I did, I did. And your journey of some of the names mean, it just goes to show how much changes this industry has seen over time. You know, DLJ was a great firm, I remember being part of DLJ, when they owned Pershing. And the stockbroker experience that you mentioned is really interesting. And one of the things, I just read this book called The House of Morgan, which I would highly recommend to anyone that appreciates the history of finance and financial services, but it basically takes the JP Morgan story from the 1800s, almost to present day. But Kidder Peabody figures in that fairly prominently. And so it's a really good history book. And all these names come up in it that eventually became firms, or the players themselves became personalities in the industry. But yeah, that's a great background as well. But I think look, I think for both of us. And I think that, whereas there's so many podcasts that have these names, and titles, you can't quite connect with what they mean, yours really captures the essence, I think of what all of us want to represent in this industry, which is helping the customers win. And so I love the name that you've come up with,


Richard Walker 8:30

I'm reminded back in the days when I was working at these various firms, and like a trans America felt like a government organization. I was around a bunch of Actuaries, and accountants and whatnot. And I was like, Man, this feels so stale. Like, shouldn't the tech be faster? Shouldn't we be doing more? Shouldn't you be able to open an account online, those types of questions were coming to mind to me. And then one of my peers at one of these companies said, yeah, but finance is always technically behind. They're slow to adopt technology. And that's something that's stuck with me, which sounds like it's one of the reasons that you went down the path you did is, and I'm gonna point this out. I just had John Macro from Milemarker on and he said, customers deserve evolving technology. They deserve an evolution in the services and technology that they have available to them. I firmly believe that and that's one of the reasons I love what I'm doing is because I think we're bringing better solutions to Market and I think that you have then just an absolute icon in our industry to have been doing that. What do you consider to be one of your greatest accomplishments?


Marc Butler 9:35

There's a couple of things that I really am proud of. I am more most recently proud of the work that we did it at Skience great team great co-founders love being there and you know, turning a name that most people hadn't heard of before into something that the industry knows and in likes. And so that was a lot of fun. My time at Allbridge, we focused a lot on data quality and sort of reigniting the platform which had grown kind of stale. And people were not happy with the data quality, lots of complaints I heard when I joined tons of complaints from advisors. And we sort of turn the tide on that. That was a lot of fun. And the work that I did with net exchange, and you know, the beginning days of that there were just a couple of people involved and today, next 360, what I knew is net ex Pro has over 100,000 users, and it has a long time. And so those are a couple things that I just love looking back, a lot of it was getting to what we just talked about customer winning, and whether the customer was an investor, whether the customer was an advisor or broker dealer or an RIA, it didn't matter. It was really about, have you created something that serves an unmet need for the clients or the customer? And that idea of serving or solving for an unmet need in the Marketplace? That idea has always gotten me excited?


Richard Walker 11:25

How did you figure out those unmet needs? I mean, what aha moments that you have when you're building that exe. And I'm sure you guys were talking to customers a lot and learning from them. And I'm constantly surprised, I'll see somebody do something with our text. Skience is a great example. What they've done with our form viewer is amazing, because it doesn't look like our form viewer that much anymore, they've made it look so much nicer than we have ourselves. So I'm kind of curious, what are some of these aha moments you've had where you woke up and said, that's what we got to build?


Marc Butler 11:53

It's really getting into, you have to be willing to do two things that I think some firms don't do a great job of, especially in our space. And the first one is, and I know this is gonna sound simple. And there's some product management people out there that are not going to be happy when I say this, but you have to actually meet with users. There's a lot of firms in our space that serve advisors, but the product management people never actually go and meet with advisors. And that was something that struck me as kind of odd when I joined Allbridges that there wasn't a program to go out in, like, we need to meet with users and see what's going on. And so when we started with net x, there was not anything that was internet based. If people were using a workstation, it was either they were dialing up into some mainframe system, or they literally were picking up the phone and calling someone at their broker-dealer to say, hey, what's the balance of Rich's account? So on one year, they got the client. And then on the other phone, they got their broker-dealer saying, hey, Rich's account, account number 123? What's his balance today? Like? So it was looking at things like that and saying, Well, wait a second, we're going to totally transform that they're actually going to log in to net X Pro, and we would talk to them about well, this is what the experience is going to be your, you're not going to make that phone call anymore. You're gonna save yourself, literally, five to 10 minutes in that process. So talking with users.


Richard Walker 11:53

Isn't it too easy to forget that's how it was?


Marc Butler 13:42

It seems like forever ago, but that's, uh, you probably remember that really well, because you were one of those users, your firm when we launched, it was one of the initial users of, of net X Pro.


Richard Walker 13:57

Yeah, yeah. And I remember net X Pro way back then. I also remember back at pain whoever the assistant or the stockbroker or myself trying to get there, the balance, and also talking to the customer. I mean, literally two phones, two lines. I also remember taking trade tickets to the pieces of paper to the trade desk to actually execute for them. But I think people forget just how manual the world was and how trivial it is today, to be able to just go in and see oh, here's your balance. Here's your positions. Here's your last transaction. We just take it for granted today. But 25 years ago, we were asking, could we do that? Could it be done on the web? Right. Yeah, it's really unreal for me to look at this transition. And I'm very fortunate because I actually have that background. I actually have all the way back to 1993. Working in financial services, even though I was super young. I have that view. Because I think that helps us carry forward to do better and better through our lives. So I'm curious like, I mean, you're starting your consulting company, what are the types of problems that you want to help companies solve?


Marc Butler 15:04

I think there's a couple things that I can help with. So just one of the challenges I think that a lot of firms have is just, they need help from a leadership perspective. So the world not just in financial services, but other industries have moved to outsourcing in sort of fractional roles. So you can have someone who has a lot of experience, for instance, as a chief operating officer or is the Chief Marketing Officer. But instead of having to hire them and pay them a lot of money, you can get someone with tons and tons of experience and have them do work for you for 10 to 15 hours a week. For companies that don't want to invest a lot of money into full-time equivalents, that isn't great solution. And a lot of companies have discovered the value of that. So that's something that I can be very helpful with, I have a lot of areas where I can help not only wealth management firms, but also FinTech firms in their revolution. And then things like just evaluating different solutions, I have a couple of instances where people are going through an evaluation process, they don't know the right questions to ask. They don't know where the minefields are. And look, when you make a technology decision as a large enterprise firm, it's not a one-year decision. It's a five-year decision, because you're not going to go through this again in the next five years. And so you better make sure that you've really checked all the boxes dotted all the I's, cross the T's in your evaluation, and having someone with some outside perspective, helps in that process. So those are a couple of things that I'm helping firms with right now. And then, naturally, just given my background, my clearing and custody background, I can help firms in those sorts of evaluations that they might be doing and weighing the pros and cons of different choices.


Richard Walker 17:15

I want to remark on something you said that that technology decision, if it becomes part of the fabric of your organization, it's longer than a five year decision more likely, because you'll start building into it and building onto it and integrating with it. And if it's not performing, and you're frustrated with it, it's hard to kind of rip up the plumbing out of the cement near foundation, right. So I we believe that Quik! that we should build products that are going to last for 10 or 15 years, because of that nature of that problem. We face it too, right? We don't always have enough time, money, resources to go rebuild everything. We're trying to do that as frequently as we can. But up until last year, we still had customers on version one of our API's after 18 years, wow, we forced everybody to move for the first time in our career. We're like, Okay, we got to get off, because technology is changing. Security is changing. We got to move.


Marc Butler 18:09

Yeah, and look, you guys have done a great job in that regard. And you talk about being the fabric of someone's solution or their business. And I think Quik! is a great example of something that and even those people that were on the 1.0 version of the API, they probably haven't had to worry about it for 18 years, because it's performed, you've enhanced a lot of stuff. And so you're right, I, but these are big decisions. And as you said, unwinding them. Like, people don't always want to go through that. It can be a lot of work. It's a big change management exercise. You and I were at an event last week hosted by Beacon strategies, where we talked about the change management exercise that goes into changing a technology implementing a new technology making any sort of change in your organization and that thing for myself, I think one thing that I've learned through these years, I think for years, I underestimated the impact of that change. But I have a much greater appreciation today and feel like I can talk and tell people about the change management that's going to go on it's, you can't just flip the switch and think that everyone's going to be on board and that of course, this is great new technology, people are going to adopt it right away. They might not because they've been using something else for the last five years and they kind of like that. So those are all important things. And like I said, I think you guys have done a great job, sort of transitioning people through those changes as your product has evolved.


Richard Walker 19:53

I appreciate that. I like to think my product is so simple we can some of these big account opening systems Back Office accounting and commissions? Oh my gosh. So speaking of Beacon and the innovators roundtable that we were both at last week, and hi, Chip. One of the big topics that we all talked about was the data, getting data, putting in data warehouses are the new term is data lake, do you have a lot of insight, experience or perspective on that yourself? Is that something you've dealt with and know about?


Marc Butler 20:24

Yeah, I mean, we dealt when I was at Allbridge, I mean, that is the business, of course, is really all about being people think about it in terms of the reporting, but the reporting is, frankly, worthless without having good quality data and complete data. So yeah, and the question really becomes, which I don't if we had another day, I think we would have gotten to more of this, which is, okay, you have the data now, what are you going to do with it? Because I think there's firms that have spent money and invested money into exactly what we talked about last week, they weren't thinking two or three steps ahead, which is, what are you going to do with it? What are you measuring? How are you going to let it impact your business? What are the decisions that you're going to make from the data. And all of those things are really important if you're going to spend the time money and resources to gather all of that data and bring it together. But I think other industries have done a great job, at using data to drive decisions, or what I would call make data-informed decisions. The data itself can't make the decision, a human has to make the decision. But the data can inform the decision that the human makes.


Richard Walker 21:48

Yeah. So I saw a couple of things that I took from that conversation with everybody. Number one is it's way more expensive and hard to do than people give credit to it. They think, oh, I'll just put a data lake together, I'll just put some BI tools, business intelligence tools on it, it'll work, right. But the amount of effort that goes into bringing in the data into a format that you can actually work with it, storing it in a way that secure but accessible. And this leads me to my second thing, which is do you have the data? Because it's one thing to say I've got all my customer data, or I've got this transactional data, but what's the flavor of your firm? We had a firm there who focuses on tax, we had another firm that focused on high net worth and another firm that focuses on lower net worth, we have another firm that focuses on insurance. Like those are skewed numbers, if that's all you'd have. But yet in FINRA SEC world, we can't just share our data with each other. So how do you get a real big picture? And I think some of the conversation was leading towards how do we integrate third-party data? Which I guess is what Allbridge's bringing to an extent? What do you think companies should do about that?


Marc Butler 22:50

I think I, well, you know, if you don't do it yourself, then yeah, you need to leverage a third party. And I think the key to the whole thing is what you said before, which is do you have and every firm is going to be different, they have a different definition of what a complete set of data is, and what it what it means. But do you really have the complete set of data, I mean, even in Allbridge, even though we had lots of data and send data back to people, you didn't get every field that lived in person, that was not part of the data model. In some cases, firms didn't necessarily need all of that. But I think there's a lot of work up front talking about, what is the data that you need? But more importantly, why you need it, what decisions you want to drive off of that? What are you going to use the data for business purposes, not technology purposes. And I think some firms just aren't really advanced in their thinking. In that regard. I think they think of data management, Enterprise Data Management as more of oh, that's a technology thing. But it's, but it's not because the technology, people aren't using that data, you're using it. So I think as an industry, there's a lot more work that can be done there. I will say this, and we did touch on this a little bit last week that the cloud data providers have made this, you can call it a data lake, Cloud Storage, whatever you want to call it. And not only have they made it easier, they've made it cheaper, they have tools built on top of it that just make getting access to the data and leveraging the data for different purposes a lot easier than ever has been.


Richard Walker 24:41

Yeah, that's for sure. And that leads to the second part that I heard at the conference, which is we were all talking about AI I mean, from moment one, it was AI this AI that and I think that a lot of people get an asset. A customer said this to me the other day. AI is just the new sexy term. It used to be crypto, it was blocked. chain it was whatever, you know, straight through processing is the new sexy term and people are like, I have to have that. So there's a lot of noise out there about what is AI, what AI is effective, etc. But I think it's also driving people to say, oh my gosh, that means I need to get the data. And I have to build a data warehouse, and I have to build AI-driven systems. It's way more complicated than that. It's, it's not just a sexy term. It's a lot of work that goes into this stuff.


Marc Butler 25:25

It is, yeah, it is a lot of work. And I think AI is not a new thing. There are things in our lives that haven't been AI-driven, that we just haven't really connected with being AI but there's simple, simple things, the recommendation engine that lives within Amazon, for instance. I mean, that's all AI-driven. If you use I was talking to someone earlier about that tool, Grammarly, which helps fix your grammar up. I mean, that is a lot of AI built into there. So some of these things have been happening, I think it's just culminating into an appreciation that there's a lot more to it than it just being like a little feature in a solution that we use, but that AI can drive not just client or customer experience, but drive real business value.


Richard Walker 26:23

Yeah. So I'm wondering, do you see in a very distinct or specific ways that you think AI is going to change customer experience, and I don't care what experience? It could be retail, it could be what we know, in financial services could be b2b. But are you thinking about that and seeing some very specific predictions of what AI is going to do?


Marc Butler 26:40

Well, I think there's a couple things, I think that there's things like ChatGPT, which I do you think are game-changing in a lot of respects, I think it gives some tools. And I've also always thought about, you know, how do we really the technology is really meant to empower and enable advisors, right? In firms. And so, you know, AI is another way of doing that. And ChatGPT can do that in very significant ways. You know, I always use the example. More and more people want to be creators, they want to be Self Publishers, well, ChatGPT in 20 seconds can write you a 500-word blog about why inflation is important for a baby boomer investor and have it written at a second-grade level that anyone can understand. And so all of a sudden, we've given a tool to advisors, they don't know it yet. But we've given a tool to advisors that allows them to be a creator, and gives them a tool in their toolkit that they've never had before, because most of them are creative. They're not going to write a 500-word law. And I know there's compliance aspects to reviewing that kind of stuff. But I think just the power of enabling advisors and their support staff with those kinds of things. And that's just a really simple example. But it could be very powerful.


Richard Walker 28:19

Yeah, one of the things I kind of expect to happen is that AI will allow that blog article to be personalized to each audience member, even kind of like when target started sending out ads 10 15 years ago, telling women they're pregnant before the women knew they were pregnant. Right, it was predicting based on other buying habits, I could see where content creation becomes highly, highly specific to very small slices of the community, or even individuals. And it just changes and morphs the whole concept of what is content creation?


Marc Butler 28:51

Totally, totally, because yeah, and that's a great thought, because in the example that I gave, you can take that blog that just came up, that took 20 seconds to create. And I could personalize it for you rich, as the advisor, I could make some small personalizations, to what's written there to make it more specific to you in your financial situation. So I totally agree with that. I think that's a great point. When you think about AI in the context of Quik!, what are some things that you guys are thinking about?


Richard Walker 29:24

So I thought about a lot of things, we've been talking about AI for a very long time to help us build forms more efficiently, more effectively, with higher quality. I mean, our forms are high quality, but it's a very human-intensive process. And I feel like we have enough data about building forms that we could train models to build the forms for us. There's some leaps in technology that we need, other companies like Adobe have solved it. And we need to rebuild that infrastructure. Remember, I was talking about building things for a long time our forms technology behind the scenes we invested so heavily early on in the first 10 years. I put more money into forms technology than customer-facing technology. And that served us really, really well. But it is aging, it is creaking at the seams. And in fact, my product manager and I, today we're talking about how we're going to move that forward. And we have to have that kind of platform before we can say okay, now let's automate tool sets or functions. We're considering other things like RPA, robotic processing automation, to even take what our current tools do and make them work faster with less human interaction. I've thought a lot about how can we improve the customer experience when it comes to filling out forms using AI? And I don't have that answer. But I do have an answer for another problem that I'm not going to talk about yet. Because we're a few months away from releasing it. But we are currently in development on an AI-driven product that is going to serve our forms community really, really well. And I'm super excited about it. Honestly, I can't sleep at night, I just like want to see this done. We've done a proof of concept that is proven to do something that I don't think anybody else can do, frankly. And that's another really exciting thing. I don't think we'll always be in that position of being the only one capable. But I think we're going to have first mover advantage, which is why I'm not going to talk about it yet. So yeah, I'm pretty excited. Do you see yourself in your consulting world? Spending more time or less time with AI-driven initiatives? Is that of interest to you to focus on that?


Marc Butler 31:23

Yeah, it is of interest? I think that there are a lot of interesting things out there are I mean, ChatGPT. In particular, I see some the use case I talked about before, but I see other use cases as well. I've tested the ability for it to do, you know, sort of basic performance investment performance calculations and do them fast. And so I see some things that, as an industry, we've invested a lot in over time that this can change the game in terms of its processing capabilities. I think there's a lot more to go. But I think, at least for now, some of the use cases I talked about, how do you put the self-publishing capabilities in the hands of advisors and support staff, I talked with someone the other day that was talking about these letters that they send out to clients after they meet with them. And each letter they spend, the assistant spends, like 20 or 25 minutes putting together this letter. And he's figured out a way using ChatGPT to create this letter in about 30 seconds. And so there's the small sort of things that this console for that people can save 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there. And all of a sudden it adds up to some real efficiencies within someone's business.


Richard Walker 32:55

Yeah, I took the stance in January of this year with all my employees that this year's theme is to learn how to use AI tools in your work. So every single person on my team has the notion that they should be experimenting with trying out and learning AI-driven technologies, third-party tools, I don't care what it is changing, I just bought somebody else another ChatGPT license today. Because if they can make their job better, faster, easier, I don't need them to work 40 hours a week, that's not the goal. The goal is productivity, engagement, interest in what they're doing, and serving our customers better and better. So if they can do it with less time, hallelujah, that's great. That's amazing. And now go focus on what really, really matters. Like yesterday, my director of it reached out to a customer proactively to follow up on an issue that we've been having affecting that customer, because it was the right thing to do versus waiting to be reactive. And he's using ChatGPT to automate writing out specs for AWS infrastructure, and all sorts of cool stuff. So I feel like if we can free up time of our team, they'll actually go do the things that matter to our customers and improve their lives even more.


Marc Butler 34:03

Yeah, and I think back to what we were talking about earlier, where you had to call someone in the home office to get the balance for the account, think about how transformational that was when somebody could just log into a screen and see that didn't have to make the phone call. They save five to 10 minutes. And not only could they see the balances, but they could see everything else. And so, you know, these sorts of things that have been developed in the last 30 35 40 years that enable advisors and make them more efficient. These are huge advances in AI has a lot of promise in that regard. I think that there's probably going to be some aspects of it that are shiny and may not live up to its potential but I think there are some real use cases in wealth management that we'll be seeing.


Richard Walker 34:59

Yeah, man, I'm really excited for what you're working towards. Because again, you've always had this passion about improving our industry. And for somebody to be able to bring you on their team, even if it's five or 10 hours a week, oh my gosh, I'm jealous, I think they're gonna get so much value. So I want to ask you another question, what is one of the your secrets or key lessons that you would share with other business leaders that has made you successful that you think could help them maybe win more customers or just be more successful in what they do?


Marc Butler 35:25

I've always had this notion of putting people first. And so I'm a really big believer in putting your team first investing in your team, helping them with their own career development and showing as much interest in their career and their development as they may have in it themselves. Because I do think the key to any success in business is having people that are we talk about employee engagement, yeah, it's really important. But what about the people that you put in front of clients, you want them to be happy, you want them to be excited, you want them to serve the customer, well, have the customer at least perceive that they're winning by working with this team of people. So I think one thing that I've really enjoyed doing through the years as a leader is helping to develop people, and be a good leader for the team. And it really comes back to putting people first and one of the things I learned many years ago that a lot of companies still don't do, but I love doing it. And when I introduce it to people, they get it right away, is the employee value proposition. I think if you really want to put people and your employees first, you have to have an employee value proposition, that's really your promise to your employees on what you're going to do and what they should expect from you as a leader. And I think it's a powerful statement to make, the harder part is living up to it every day. And so as a leader, you have to be allocating a significant percentage of your time to your people into people leadership. And I always would tell people a couple years ago, when I was at Allbridge, I probably spend somewhere between 15 and 25% of my time on people-related initiatives, whether it was helping someone with their development plan, whether it was helping with our job shadowing program, or our mentoring program, like all of those things, leaders need to take a personal interest. But it pays dividends later on. In fact, there's a study, which we can share with your audience that McKinsey last week came out with, which really put some data to hey, what is the impact with companies who have invested heavily in their people, doesn't mean they're not a performance-driven culture. But they've had the right combination of driving good performance and putting their people first. And as shown the performance of those companies is leaps and bounds ahead of other companies that may have a more top-down, you know, solely performance-driven culture. So I could talk about this for a long time. I feel pretty passionately about it. But that's something that I've learned in my career in practice. And I feel like I said pretty strongly about


Richard Walker 38:32

You and me both. And I've always said that I want to be known as a great leader, and an okay, manager, I just want to be good enough. As a manager, I really want to excel as a leader. And a funny story in my company, when I got to a point where I had hired my first two developers, my DBA, after being with us for three months that is so Rich, what is your favorite part of programming? Because I built all of our tech for a couple of years by now and I built every line of source code we had. He's like, what's your favorite part of programming? And I looked at him deadpan. I said, not doing it. Like what? I don't get it. He's like, this is what you do is what you're good at. I'm like, no, this was a means to an end. I'm an entrepreneur. First, I want to get the product to market. I had to learn programming. I'm self-taught, I did all this. I've heard you now. Now I get to focus on helping you be better and empowering your best work and everything else. So I fully appreciate that advice, Marc. That is really, really awesome to hear that your people first. Because honestly, when I think about the customer wins. When I think about customer experience. I think it's employee experience first. And we don't always articulate that.


Marc Butler 39:34

Yeah, yeah. Because I mean, if you have employees that are not engaged, they don't feel part of it. They're not connected to the mission like how is what I'm doing every single day connected to the vision and the mission of this company if they don't understand that, and don't feel part of that, that will come through every single time in their interaction with clients of your business. I read something else interesting last week. Fidelity has done an awesome job for a long time of having one of these great places to workplace that people want to work. And they had a statistic in their quarterly report that said in the first quarter of this year 8200 people have elevated their role in some way within the company. This is a company of 65,000 people. And roughly what 12 and a half 13% of the people had they've gotten those people to the next level, either through a job change or through a promotion. And I think that that just says a lot about it's just one example. But we need more examples like that in financial services.


Richard Walker 40:53

Yeah, I have a lot of admiration for Fidelity. Whenever I've been at their offices and met with the team, when they go around the room. They all say how long they've been there. And it's usually 15 years and above. And there's the one guy is like, I've only been here seven years, and like seven years is a long time to be at a place. Yeah, they have absolute loyalty with their employee base because of how they treat them and reward them. As we wrap this up. I want to ask you another question. But before I do that, what is the best way for people to find you and connect with you?


Marc Butler 41:22

Yeah, probably two good ways. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm, I'm fairly active. I love meeting new people. So please don't hesitate. You don't even just have to follow me. You can connect with me, I'll connect with people. I don't know it's okay. And then the other way on my website, marcrbutler, and it's Marc with a c.com. So marcrbutler.com is another way to learn more about me and some of the things that I have going on.


Richard Walker 41:51

Awesome. All right. Here's my last question for you, who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style? And how you approach your role of leader?


Marc Butler 41:59

Great, great question. And there's so many of them. I always say mentoring is the cheapest and oldest and best way to develop people. And I've been the benefactor of lots of great mentors, through the years, but there's probably three people that really stick out to me well, Brian Shea, who used to be the CEO of Pershing was an amazing leader, a great teacher, a great coach, a great mentor. There was a guy who LED technology in Pershing named Suresh Kumar, who was a great technical leader just really in taught us all a lot about how to drive hard at solving unmet client needs. I learned a lot from him over the years. And there was a guy that worked in in Pershing named Scott Munroe, who ran the office in outside of Chicago, he since passed. But Scott was one of the best people that I knew in terms of managing relationships effectively, had a great process, and cared, was so passionate about investing in people in the company and making them better. And he was great. We miss him.


Richard Walker 42:54

Yeah, that's awesome. Wow. Well, hey, I want to say thank you to Marc Butler, founder of Marc Butler consulting for being on this episode of the customer wins. Go check out Marc's website at marcrbutler.com. And again, that's Marc with letter C. Don't forget to check out Quik! at quikforms.com where we take the work out of paperwork. I hope you've enjoyed this discussion. I think we did it a little differently the day and it was really fun. I hope you got to click the like button, share this with someone, maybe subscribe to get future episodes of The Customer Wins. Marc, thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being an inspiration all these years and thanks for being such a great leader and being on today's show.


Marc Butler 44:08

Rich, thanks for everything, like I said at the beginning. Thanks for the friendship and the partnership and for all that you've done to lead this industry and what Quik! has done so congratulations. Thanks so much.


Outro 44:22

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time. And be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.



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