Jacob Grollo is a business development representative at Advicent, the financial planning technology provider of choice for nearly 100,000 financial professionals.
In Charles Schwab’s most recent Independent Advisor Outlook study, more than 900 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) were surveyed on the current state of their practice and what their main business focuses were moving forward. Out of those surveyed, 92 percent said they are considering making a change in either their firm’s technology, operations, or client acquisition model during the 2020 fiscal year. This indicates that the financial services market looks to remain highly competitive moving forward and with such a large portion of advisors contemplating change, it is clear that evolution is required to sustain success.
Considering this, let’s discuss some of the biggest pain points that financial professionals face today and how FinTech solutions can help relieve this stress.
One of the most common pain points for advisors is often uncovered during the data gathering stage. This tedious step in the financial planning process continues to hinder advisors and the work they do with their customers. Through the implementation of a tool to help automate the data gathering process, advisors can significantly shorten the time between onboarding a new client and delivering quality financial advice.
Fact-finding solutions, such as the NaviPlan eFact Finder, allow clients to proactively start the data gathering process on a digital platform. This translates to less time spent on data entry by the advisor and more time available to focus on their clients’ specific needs.
Delivering accurate advice is the most crucial step in the financial planning process. This is where advisors can fully demonstrate their value in a clear and concise way, and increase rapport with clients. Different types of clients will respond better to certain forms of advice delivery meaning advisors need to utilize a tool that provides a variety of presentation and delivery options. NaviPlan has several ways to deliver prudent advice in an engaging manner.
The NaviPlan Presentation Module allows advisors to collaborate with clients and adjust plan details in real-time, helping to pique the interest of visual learners. For clients that prefer a more analytical approach to digest their advice, the NaviPlan Scenario Manager offers the option to create side-by-side scenarios to analyze any hypothetical question they may have.
Additionally, with the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the financial services market, firms can use the advice delivery stage to distinguish themselves from the competition by customizing client reports. The NaviPlan Client Report Editor allows firms to custom tailor their reports by choosing from a variety of charts and graphs to select the information that will be most relevant to their unique clients’ situations. By adding custom branding and editing client report text to match their brand and tone, firms can further extend their custom client experience.
Technology has fundamentally changed the financial advice industry. What's next?
Consistent client engagement
Providing comprehensive, holistic financial advice is done best when advisors engage with their clients on a consistent basis. Rather than having clients walk out the door wondering what comes next, advisors can leverage a client portal tool to keep clients connected with their advice.
The NaviPlan client portal allows clients to see real-time updates on how they are progressing through their financial journey. Clients also have the ability to tweak plan elements from the comfort of their own home to explore additional savings strategies and gain a deeper understanding of an advisor’s advice.
Client engagements can also be more consistent when a client’s plan is built using cash flow analysis. Compared to a simpler, goals-based plan, cash flow analysis opens the door for more consistent client engagements, which can help uncover additional opportunities and needs.
Scaling advice complexity
As an advisor, it is extremely valuable to retain a client’s business throughout their entire financial journey. A client’s needs will evolve over time and it is crucial for advisors to be able to scale their advice to meet those increasingly complex needs. This will help increase AUM and efficiency over time, leading to a more sustainable book of business.
There are many planning areas that your clients may grow into over time such as education planning for their children, succession planning for their business, or discovering shortfalls in insurance coverage. With client needs continuously evolving, it is crucial to leverage a planning tool that can be just as dynamic. To learn more about the importance of scalability in financial planning software, see this blog.
For more information on how NaviPlan is built for every firm’s planning strategy, click here.