Financial planning is for all client segments

October 25, 2017 by Shawn Preisler

An advisor details a financial plan with his high-net-worth client

About the author

Shawn Preisler

Regional sales director

Shawn has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and has held leadership positions in both the broker dealer and RIA space. Shawn leverages his vast industry experience to help investment firms implement financial planning technology solutions which allow their clients achieve financial success.

When it comes to financial planning, conventional wisdom states that planning services are reserved for complicated situations unique to ultra-high-net-worth or high-net-worth clients. While clients who have amassed large amounts of assets can certainly benefit from financial planning services, other client segments should not be excluded from the planning process.

At Advicent, we spend a lot of time educating firms and advisors on how they can transform their practices into highly efficient financial planning operations. We have the expertise necessary to transform your business regardless of your business needs. We have worked with small broker-dealers who are challenged with converting their commission business into something more sustainable and also with large RIAs to create workflows that increase the number of annual financial plans.

In almost all cases, a portion of the consulting work that we do is based on expanding financial planning services into client segments within the firm that have historically not benefitted from financial planning. Consider the needs of these three common client segments to determine how your firm can better serve these clients — and grow your business.

Ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW)

While many people believe that the UHNW clients are first in line when it comes to receiving a financial plan, I have actually seen that this group is missing a comprehensive and holistic plan more times than one would think. Because of the volume and types of assets these individuals have, many advisors are quick to refer them to an accountant or attorney for advice. Instead, you can utilize a robust software like NaviPlan® which can help advisors simplify the complex and streamline the planning process.

By using NaviPlan, the advisor remains the center of gravity by creating and maintaining the financial plan. If advice from accountants or attorneys is needed, advisors can simply invite those professionals into the planning process and then implement the strategies within NaviPlan. Even detailed estate planning scenarios can be modeled in our software; no situation is too complex for NaviPlan.

High-net-worth (HNW)

In my experience HNW clients are probably the most likely group to engage in a financial planning process. Unfortunately, many times the process is initiated by the client inquiring with the advisor if their firm offers those services. Rather than waiting for your clients to ask you if a service could be offered, we suggest that you evaluate financial planning software and make a selection based on the software that best fits your firm’s objectives. By being prepared and building financial planning into your business model, you can begin proactively presenting financial planning as part of your menu of services.

When working with HNW investors, it is important to show how your recommendations will improve your client’s progress toward their goals. In NaviPlan, you can use the Scenario Manager to show side-by-side comparisons of different investment strategies. By creating multiple scenarios which you can illustrate through client facing reports, your clients will put greater trust into your recommendations and ultimately lead to stronger relationships.

Mass affluent

As both Generations X and Y investors enter the mass affluent segment, it is important to make sure advisors are offering services beyond access to capital markets. While many of these investors may not need a full-fledged financial plan just yet, they do need help assessing their situations to ensure they are making progress toward their goals. Having access to flexible software that can scale down when you need something lighter and goals based can help you offer services to a group of investors who are currently under represented by financial advisors.

A great way to help the mass affluent investor group is by using a popular feature in NaviPlan that empowers advisors to quickly provide a needs analysis based on simple input, which can provide a deliverable report in 5-10 minutes. From these reports, advisors can help establish goals and quickly create projections based on current assets. It is these simple services that can add a tremendous amount of value to these relationship, which result in deeper planning opportunities and a greater amount of client referrals.

To learn more about how financial planning software can boost your firm's ROI, click here.