There are plenty of reasons why a financial services firm wants to be both efficient and specialized, but the two can often work against each other. Want to provide highly specialized services catered to unique client needs? This requires additional time and may sacrifice efficiency. Want to be highly efficient and maximize ROI? This may sacrifice the ability to serve complex, specialized advice.
In response to these sacrifices that firms found themselves making, a common trend in the financial planning industry has been implementing central planning. This strategy allows medium to large firms to deploy specialized individuals such as a CFP, estate attorney, CFA, or CPA to handle complex cases as they arise meaning firms can provide specialized advice in a more efficient manner.
For a firm looking to learn more about central planning and hoping to adopt the strategy, here are four key benefits and considerations.
The biggest benefit of implementing central planning is the new range of specialized services a firm can provide. Say, for instance, a firm wants to start offering estate planning to each of its clients. The cost to hire on estate attorneys as advisors is unrealistic however, if you have an individual or small team possessing J.D., CPA, or CFP experience, the cost becomes much more reasonable. These highly specialized individuals handle the items they are most qualified for while relationship managers handle the client side and deliver reports.
When you begin building out a central planning team, the biggest thing to consider is what your specialization will be and how large of a team is needed to meet client needs.
Compliance is a complicated issue at every firm, but it all boils down to how firms guarantee that their advisors are giving quality advice to their clients. A central planning team is by far the easiest method for ensuring compliance.
The reason is quite simple: a smaller team of highly skilled individuals is less likely to make mistakes and deliver bad advice than a team of 100 advisors struggling to balance time and accuracy.
In an internal partner study conducted by Advicent it was found that by using a central planning team and NaviPlan®, firms can reduce the number of necessary compliance audits by up to 50 percent. This not only helps eliminate wasted time and costs, but also the headache of going through a grueling compliance audit process.
By nature, an employee performing a task for the first time will always take longer than the veteran who has done the same task thousands of times. Central planning provides this level of efficiency to the planning process.
One of Advicent’s prominent partners reported increased efficiencies from 20 to 40 percent by using a process like this. When an advisor creates 1 plan a month, they need to take the time to re-acquaint themselves with the data, the software, the output, and so forth for every plan. However, when a team who does these tasks multiple times a day is tasked with creating a plan, there is no need to reacquaint themselves with the process and thus the plan is made quicker.
The software used in a central planning strategy is key to making the whole idea work smoothly. The main components to consider are the control planners have over the tool, the final deliverable outputs, and the ability to handle plan creation and delivery in an all-digital workflow.
First off, without adequate control, the expert central planning team would be unable to fully apply their expertise. Beyond that, the range of client needs that a firm could service would be limited. With a tool that planners can highly control to meet the needs of their current plan development, firms are able to fully welcome more complex client situations that can often lead to higher revenue.
When it comes to plan delivery, options are important. The ability to customize reports with a tool like the NaviPlan Client Report Editor lets advisors present their advice in an intuitive, easy to understand fashion.
Lastly, the option to simplify client onboarding and plan delivery with digital enablement is key. It can be difficult to gather the central planning team, advisor, and client all in one location so being able to remotely obtain clients’ account information and transfer plan data becomes essential.
While the decision to move to a central planning model is by no means a small one, there are plenty of opportunities to be had in terms of efficiency, client experience, revenue by doing so.
To learn more about NaviPlan and how it supports the central planning model, click here.