FOFA may be getting scaled back to better suit advisers, but many advisers are still snowed under complying with regulations to properly engage with new or existing clients.
“Financial planning has changed enormously over the last few years because clients expect more and planners have less time to provide advice as they struggle with the many other issues involved in running their business,” financial planner Hans Egger tells Wealth Professional.
Egger, who helps advisers tackle client engagement problems, says the answer is to embrace technology to provide a higher level of advice more efficiently.
“Most clients don’t understand what advisers really do, so it’s up to the adviser to show the breadth and depth of what’s really on offer. You’ve got to use a methodology that works and a good tool set.”
Egger has a marketing background but has been a financial planner since 1998. “When I entered the financial planning industry back then I thought it was a bit bizarre because we didn’t have any tools to help us explain to clients what we can do to help them. [Even now] no one can tell us what a financial planner does.”
So he and his company Astute Wealth Management launched the AstuteWheel in June 2012, which 320 advisers around Australia currently use to explain the value of advice – using presentation tools and modelling calculators – to clients at their initial few meetings.
It includes online resources to help the client prepare for the meeting by teaching them what advisers really do, and gathers information about the client so the adviser is prepared.
“The client may have called about insurance, as that’s what they think advisers do, but the questionnaire will determine what the client’s priorities and needs are,” Egger says.
“You get all this information back before the meeting and don’t have to spend the first 20 minutes of the meeting finding out stuff like their kids’ dates of birth.”
The second stage is at the meeting, where the adviser uses presentation tools, financial modelling calculators and marketing tools to give the client a real idea of their finances and why they need an adviser.
“If the client understands what you’re talking about they’re in a better position to decide whether to take up advice services. And the adviser can have a much better conversation with the client because they can model things on real time using the tools.”
The tool also gives comprehensive notes at the end of the meeting, and has a referral option as well, which directs friends and family of the client to an interactive website rather than just handing them a brochure. “It’s an easy way for financial planners to get introduced to new clients,” Egger says.
He believes financial planning is changing fundamentally and advisers need to be able to provide a higher level of advice for clients, and adopt technology to do so.
“Advisers need to be effective and efficient and we need to provide this advice to all clients. Initial meetings must be comprehensive and thorough.
“For the client value proposition, you can’t just have a one-liner; you’ve got to have something that really explains it to the client, so they see the value of advice.”
Five minutes with … Hans Egger, Astute Wealth Advice
Don’t squander your FoFA peace dividend