Get our app
Account Sign up Sign in

Start Your Executive Employment Agreement

Answer a few questions. We’ll take care of the rest.

Start Your Executive Employment Agreement

Get started

What is a fractional advisor?

Fractional advisors, often referred to as fractional executives, fractional wealth managers and interim executives, are distinct from consultants. Consultants provide guidance to a business, yet that guidance is often overarching and general. Often consultants only provide guidance and do not follow through on their recommended actions. Fractional advisors offer highly specific guidance on a fractional or part-time basis, oftentimes for businesses in the financial sector. Fractional advisors are also unique in that they provide expertise to a wide range of clients, regardless of their portfolio size.

The word “fractional” is used as it is a reference to the partial nature of work performed for small and midsize businesses. Experienced business professionals serve as fractional advisors as they've invested years or even decades developing the insight necessary to solve complex problems. In particular, veterans of the financial industry thrive in fractional advisor roles.

Fractional advisors provide value in the form of investment planning, financial planning, client financial goal assessment and more. Fractional advisor guidance extends to tax planning advice, investment portfolio management and the development of investment strategies. Some fractional advisors also provide guidance for client retirement planning. The most experienced and trusted fractional advisors are trusted with analyzing, rebalancing and monitoring client portfolios.

In some instances, a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), works in tandem with a fractional CEO for a specific project. Though such executives have temporarily overlapping roles, their efforts are reinforcing, serving to create cohesion that benefits the enterprise as a whole.

The fractional nature of such services is unique in that it makes financial analysis and ongoing guidance more easily accessible to those who might not meet traditional advisors’ requirements. However, certain areas and firms often have their own requirements and qualifications for fractional advisors. Some states also have distinct legal regulations for these professionals.

Why do companies hire fractional advisors?

Small and midsize businesses hire fractional advisors as these professionals offer valuable insight and expertise into business management, the complexities of investment portfolio analysis and specific niches. Highly-specific business expertise combined with fractional advisor flexibility makes it easier for companies to address shortcomings, meet demand and please clients. Fractional advisors pinpoint business strengths and weaknesses, creating new growth strategies and incorporating optimal practices that pave a path toward success.

Business owners who lean on fractional advisors are quick to highlight the importance of these professionals' flexibility. Such latitude is different from that provided by conventional consultants who often provide more generalized consulting. Fractional advisors commonly work on a per-project or part-time basis, providing business owners with an invaluable opportunity to tap into their expertise without paying a full-time salary and costly benefits. Whether the business is a startup, relatively new or has operated for decades, a fractional advisor's advice can be invaluable.

Fractional advisors are also revered for their objectivity. A neutral perspective allows for value-free and unbiased analysis that ultimately advances the bottom line. Such an outside perspective drives prudent and timely decision-making for optimal efficiency. A truly objective fractional advisor lends critically important assistance in identifying avenues for growth, collaboration, innovation and more.

How much are fractional advisors typically paid?

Most fractional advisors charge fees in accordance with a percentage of aggregate client investments held by the company. This unique approach is different from that of the conventional model in which advisors charge a flat fee unrelated to the magnitude of client portfolio worth.

Some fractional advisors charge hourly rates depending on his or her level of experience, commitment level to specific projects, the client's specific field and other factors. Some fractional advisors charge upwards of several hundreds of dollars per hour. However, the specific cost of a fractional advisor’s expertise primarily hinges on the scope of his or her work and level of engagement.

Fractional advisor financial compensation is also dependent on the length of commitment. Such advisors typically provide guidance for small and midsize businesses on a part-time basis for a set period of time. As an example, fractional advisors often work for businesses for a period of one financial quarter (3 months) or six financial quarters (18 months). However, there is also the potential for advisors to render services indefinitely. Advisor services typically extend until the business reaches its expansion goals or other financial benchmarks. In some instances, fractional advisors serve as a bridge to the hiring of a full-time executive.

The details of fractional advisor compensation may be spelled out in an Executive Employment Agreement that often includes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) containing rules that govern confidential and proprietary information an advisor may learn while providing services.

How can a business find the right fractional advisor to meet their needs?

Approaches to pinpointing the right fractional advisor differ by company. The right advisor for one business is not guaranteed to be ideal for a competing business in the same industry or niche. Moreover, small and midsize businesses outside of the financial space may benefit from the guidance of a fractional advisor specific to their realm.

Small businesses that have greatly benefited from fractional advisor expertise often point to the importance of their preliminary research. A small investment of time and effort researching executives who worked for other businesses in the same industry and specialty is essential for highlighting the optimal candidate. Ideally, the fractional advisor selected for guidance has extensive experience working in the overarching industry, the business’s specific niche and even specific projects in which expertise is necessary.

Finding an impactful fractional advisor is significantly easier with the assistance of outside experts. Small and midsize businesses can hire agencies that specialize in recruiting advisors, executives, and C-suite talent. This can conserve time and effort that can be redirected toward other projects. In addition to recruiting agencies, small and midsize businesses also find fractional executives through professional networks, referrals, online platforms and industry events.

To learn more about whether a fractional advisor is right for your business, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

Ask a lawyer

Our network attorneys are here for you.
Characters remaining: 600
Rocket Lawyer Network Attorneys

Try Rocket Lawyer FREE for 7 days

Start your membership now to get legal services you can trust at prices you can afford. You'll get:

All the legal documents you need—customize, share, print & more

Unlimited electronic signatures with RocketSign®

Ask a lawyer questions or have them review your document

Dispute protection on all your contracts with Document Defense®

30-minute phone call with a lawyer about any new issue

Discounts on business and attorney services