Author: Santi Burridge
In a post-Hayne world, ‘client engagement’ has been the buzz phrase on the collective lips of the industry.
Yes, of course – we have heard whispers of it before that, but it’s now more than any time in my career, that we are seeing the tectonic plates actually shifting. We are seeing structural change taking place that is ensuring clients of financial advisers not only comprehend the advice they are receiving but engage with it too. And there’s no going back.
We’ve also seen an abundance of innovation and knowledge imparted about how to keep the modern client interested in their money in what is being coined as the “digital age”. And rightly so. The delivery mode by which people engage with everything – not just their finances, has undoubtably changed since the invention of the iPhone and digital media.
But I think I’m fair in saying there are a few more fundamental factors we need to think about when it comes to making people really care about what they’re doing with their money.
Client engagement in financial advice is more than just tech tools, social media and satisfaction surveys.
It’s about the space where life and money intersect.
Advisers and clients usually arrive at this intersection during the actual advice process. When you are sitting and listening to your clients talk about their values and goals – about what their dreams are and about how you can help them achieve them from a financial point of view.
Historically as an industry however, once we have had these discussions, that dialogue can often be left to sit idly in a file note.
Client engagement needs to be about breathing oxygen into that file note – after all, it’s so much more than a ‘note’. It’s the reason your clients sought you out. It’s the reason you do what you do.
I know this isn’t necessarily a new philosophy, especially in the modern advice world. But I think we are still scratching the surface to some extent when it comes to working out what ‘financial happiness and fulfillment’ translates to when delivering financial advice services.
When it comes to fulfillment in investing, there are a few things I know to be true –
1. Human beings have emotions and feelings. I am stating the obvious, but for the sake of my point I will. When we invest in people or things, we do so because we believe in them, or we resonate with them, or simply – we care about them.
2. Human beings enjoy choice. In fact, many of us would instantly recoil from an optionless environment. We don’t like being boxed in – we avoid inflexible people and conditions.
3. Human beings like to be made to feel special. We are unique – our goals, our talents, our likes and dislikes. Our ideas of success and happiness may be similar to some degree, but for the most part will differ from person to person.
I didn’t mention money in any of the above points, but to be perfectly honest, when it comes to financial matters – the same observations apply.
At Implemented Portfolios, we’ve observed over time that an engaged client is more likely to be a satisfied and happier one. The business was founded on the notion that to engage and truly advise clients, we need to come to a realization that “it’s not just about the money.”
We only have to look at the findings of the RC to see that framing financial advisers purely as stock pickers with cookie-cut-out, abstract algorithms behind where and why they invest client money, is doing the profession a disservice.
We all know the value of a financial adviser lies so far beyond that.
That’s why the philosophy behind our individually managed account service is based on flexibility, individuality and unique client values.
This logic stems from the belief that a client who has the ability to tailor their investment portfolio to their individual preferences and values – who can personally relate to where their money is invested, will be more engaged in the advice process.
When looking up the meaning of ‘adviser’ the words ‘guide’ and ‘confidant’ came up as well. So simple and yet so central to what the role of a financial adviser should be perceived as, particularly post our industry’s ‘tectonic shift’.
By humanising and individualising the investment advice process a little more, we are another step closer to shifting the brand of ‘financial advice’. We are another step closer to showing clients that they can ‘confide’ in us with their financial values and goals, that we understand them, and that we’re here to ‘guide’ them through them.
To read more about our IMA service, click HERE.