Quantum’s Vice President of Advanced Planning and Portfolio Solutions, Andy Moore, CFP®, was just featured in CPA Practice Advisor magazine. His article, “4 Key Factors When Looking For A Financial Advisor You Can Understand,” talks about how to improve your communication with clients to both retain them and help them achieve better financial results.
Financial products and services can be complicated, which is one reason some people choose to hire a financial advisor in the first place. But those very complexities are sometimes at the root of why people fire their advisors. Poor communication can prolong the client’s lack of understanding and lead to poor results.
So, what should you consider doing to improve client retention and client results?
Specifically, you should go beyond products like stocks, bonds and other similar stock market investments and instead explain important concepts necessary for a complete, successful financial plan. Some ideas you might want to discuss with your clients include mitigating sequence of returns risk, planning for longevity, various income sources and adjusting for potential higher taxes in the future.
“These are concepts that consumers may not understand but deserve to be informed about,” Andy Moore says. “If advisors only focus on the management of the portfolio and not the holistic financial plan, the client is getting short-changed when it comes to their overall financial health.”
Go ahead and take on the true fiduciary priorities incumbent upon today’s financial advisors—that’s what consumers expect. Your client expects you to act in their best interest, so make sure you do. Too many advisors disregard other asset classes and financial instruments because they cannot charge a fee to their clients for certain products, or important financial topics are ignored because they don’t fit into their AUM-driven business model.
One example is life insurance. While most consumers already have insurance like homeowners or auto insurance, almost 50% are either uninsured or underinsured when it comes to life insurance. Yet many advisors don’t even mention the importance of protecting your family’s finances against potential death or disability that can completely derail a financial plan. Financial advisors owe it to their clients to talk about insurance-based solutions as a critical part of the overall financial plan.
Risk management is especially critical when it comes to retirement planning. “In my experience, more than 90% of advisors are focused solely on accumulation,” Andy says. “They know very little about the protection and distribution of assets during a client’s investment life cycle, especially during retirement.”
Clients expect more, especially when they have a higher net worth. With both income and estate taxes likely to rise, insurance and annuities add important protection and tax-advantaged benefits to the risk management, retirement planning and estate planning conversation that is too often withheld.
Advisors also need to talk to clients about stock market concerns and diversification. They need to consider asset classes that are not correlated with the stock and bond market. And when they get close to and reach retirement age, advisors need to discuss and create income streams for their clients that won’t be wiped out by market losses.