Press coverage

Published July 2, 2020 by FS Advice

Financial Standard Online

Turning grandfathered commissions into fee-for-service

Financial advisers will have one meeting to convince their disengaged clients to become fee paying. Time spent developing a first-class client engagement process is crucial as this meeting will be repeated many times and needs to be perfect

Disengaged clients of financial planners across the country will soon begin to receive phone calls or emails asking them to meet to discuss their financial planning needs. Many will decline but others will agree to take the time to: co-ordinate their partner, perhaps leave work early, find parking and attend the meeting.

The experience they have in the next 60-90 minutes will determine if they become a fee-paying client or not. For many practices this will mean the difference between survival and failure as grandfathered commissions are abolished and annual fee renewal takes hold.

During the meeting the adviser will need to: establish rapport with the client, gather information, discuss goals, determine what advice will be provided (initially and on an ongoing basis) and show value in their service to finally agree on a reasonable fee.

To do this effectively in the short time allotted will be a challenge and requires the adviser to re-think the client journey experience, their own business needs and their ever-increasing compliance requirements.

The client journey is the experience they have from the first contact, throughout the meeting process and beyond. The client expects this to be a logical process and all about them, their needs and the better outcomes they can achieve. This requires coherent explanations of the value they can expect for the fees they will pay so that a decision to proceed can be made.

The adviser challenge is how to provide a valuable client journey in an efficient and effective way so that most of the meetings end with a favourable outcome for both client and adviser. Much of this will depend on the adviser’s soft (sales) skills however a lot will also depend on the tools they have at their disposal.

Those advisers that rely on ‘old style’ business practices using paper-based fact finds will struggle to generate any level of excitement for their clients. Not to mention how much of their time and their client’s valuable time they will be wasting.

Online tools that help the adviser gather information from their client prior to the meeting streamlines the process and allows the adviser and their client to focus their time on the more important and valuable matters.

To provide a “wow!” level of service, advisers should seriously consider using highly visual fintech solutions on a wall mounted HD screen, this creates an atmosphere of a modern business and allows the adviser to cover more ground in a shorter period of time while still maintaining the personal touch that the client deserves.

Alternatively these visual solutions can be used in virtual (screen share) meetings to provide an interactive and engaging substitute to the more time-consuming physical meeting.

Compliance requirements for many financial advisers has become a time-consuming headache fraught with anxiety that critical issues have been missed or not covered with enough depth.

The answer for most is to spend many hours after the meeting writing file notes to document their conversations in an attempt to meet the compliance checklist. Not only is this a time-consuming exercise but it’s also difficult to accomplish as it relies on the adviser’s memory and many of the file notes can’t be corroborated by the client.

A good fintech solution not only provides for a powerful and valuable client journey but also automatically embeds the compliance requirements in that journey resulting in better outcomes in a shorter timeframe.

The use of interactive software tools enables the modern advice practice to: gather client information electronically, record and develop the client’s goals, determine the scope and scale of advice and perform live modelling of strategies and all this is captured in date stamped file notes or reports that the client can sign providing an audit trail in real time as the meeting progresses.

Financial planning practices have a small window of opportunity to replace their soon-to-be lost revenue with fully engaged clients that understand and appreciate the value of receiving advice and are prepared to renew their arrangements each year. Time spent on developing a first-class client engagement process using efficient and visual fintech tools may well spell the difference between success and failure for a financial planning practice.