By: Matt Meyer
Matt Meyer, co-founder at The BluePrint Insurance services is a contributor for Nasdaq.com. The below article can also be viewed at Nasdaq.com. Please click here.
Twenty years ago, it was common for a person to have a stockbroker (or two), an insurance agent (or two), and a handful of other professionals where they went for financial guidance. Fast forward to the present day, and the financial advice landscaped has changed. The evolution of financial advice has turned the “stockbroker industry” into the “financial advisor industry.” People seeking financial advice desire a comprehensive experience versus fragmented advice. With this change, the new age financial advisor and firm are uniquely positioned to win new clients and build deeper relationships with those they serve. Whether you have already positioned yourself for this new wave, or you still need some convincing, here are some ideas and trends to consider.
It Might as Well Be You
Do you believe that clients want comprehensive financial guidance? If you are still on the fence, think about how painful and difficult the internet has muddied the financial services space. You heard me correctly. Many people believe the new era of technology and free-flowing information has made it easy for people to have access to information and therefore make financial decisions. While that may be true for some, I believe for most of us, it has been the opposite effect. The overload of information makes it harder to know what is true versus exaggerated. It makes it harder to know what is the “best option” or more importantly, the “best for me.” We believe consumers want their experience to be easier so they can feel confident with their decision-making. This can be best accomplished by having a trusted advisor who takes the complicated financial world and simplifies it. This comprehensive approach to guiding someone through the glorious ups and downs of their financial life can be delivered by a new age advisor, so it might as well be you!
The Fee Compression Remedy
My firm and I work with financial advisors across the country. A common fear and conversation with many of them is fee compression. With the emergence of robo advisor platforms, free trading, and ETFs, many advisors who market themselves as investment managers may be feeling the heat of charging 1% or more for something the end client perceives they can get somewhere else for a fraction of the cost. Our belief is the same way stockbrokers became extinct the average investment adviser solely focused on managing money will eventually have the same destiny. The easiest way to make you and your firm stay relevant to today’s consumer is to adopt a comprehensive approach. Providing your clients with comprehensive advice can help differentiate yourself, your services, and offer more flexibility with your fee schedule.
Talk is Cheap
This is not intended to offend advisors, but it needs to be said. We meet a lot of firms and advisors who have adopted the “comprehensive” language. The industry knows clients want a comprehensive experience, so many firms, and advisors have incorporated it into their websites and other marketing material. However, when you pull back the curtain, many talk the talk but do not walk the walk. For example, we will meet with advisors who advertise themselves as providing “comprehensive retirement planning and advice.” When we ask about discussing long-term care with their clients, we find out it is not part of the discussion. Or we ask other advisors if they discuss family protection with those clients that have young children? Sadly, the answer is usually no.
It is Easier than You Think
The beauty of being comprehensive is it is easier than you think. We believe advisors that haven’t adopted the approach is because they worry about not being an expert on every matter. We completely agree that it is a valid concern, however, it has never been easier to build a virtual team or have partners to leverage in your practice. A simple approach can be to figure out what level of expertise you want to have in matters outside your general passion. For example, we have seen investment managers hire CFPs or outsource financial planning. Or advisors who focus on planning outsource investment management or lean on an insurance specialist. The point is you can build a team that suits your needs very easily and can provide clients a superior experience that will set you apart!