"Rarely has there been a better opportunity for planners to prove their worth" says Jeff Prestridge, of the Financial Mail on Sunday, writing in April's Financial Planner magazine. How so, with markets going backwards, credit crunch nervousness and wholesale uncertainty?
There are a number of current factors that are driving client’s need for reassurance about financial affairs:
- · The markets have been going backwards
- · There is credit crunch nervousness
- · There is wholesale uncertainty
All the more need for setting up a regular review service for your clients. There are two main reasons for doing this, For business & financial reasons you will make more money if you do it right and for customer service reasons, the clients you want, need to be reviewed.
What proportion of your clients “do money” i.e. they understand financial services, markets, investment, risk and how these contribute to them achieving their life goals? Probably very few.
The fact is that for most:
- Life Is Too Busy – they have little time to mow the grass or make a cup of tea let alone sit down and properly review their financial affairs
- Life Is Too Complex (especially when you have money) – most people just don’t understand what they have or how it’s working for them
- People Want Help & Assistance – even Mum and Dad clients with relatively simple strategies need their hand holding and reminding why they are doing what they are doing
- People Don’t Want To Educate A New Adviser Every 2-3 Years – even if they have come across a good adviser at their bank the chances are that adviser will move on and they don’t want to have to explain their situation all over again each time
The client review is also a great opportunity to provide education regarding investments and a slick and efficient review service that enables this to happen will actually free up adviser time. Stephen Willis, writing in the same magazine, illustrates this point. “I had arranged to call in on an elderly client, whom I thought might be a little unnerved by recent stock market events. I needn’t have concerned myself as she certainly wasn’t. I took heart in the knowledge that our process of helping manage client’s expectations is working.”
Building up a toolkit of materials that enable you to explain these things in a simple and easy to understand way helps add value to what you already do. Furthermore, advisers are in the ideal position to provide such reassurance. As noted by Perpetual (the Australian Fund Manager in 2007) in their What Clients Want research program: “It is clear from our research that advisers are the only professionals who currently have permission to address clients’ life goals. No other profession – not lawyers, accountants, doctors or bankers – can discuss their clients’ financial and life ambitions and develop a plan to meet them.
A well packaged, well delivered review service, delivered by a confident professional, will add value to clients through the ups and downs of markets, and will increase customer loyalty and increase referrals. Truly a great opportunity.
Jim Constable is senior consultant at FP Advance
The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual.
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