Should the relationship between financial advisors and their clients be any different than the relationships we have with our doctors, lawyers, clergy, and other professional partnerships? It shouldn’t. There should exist, between the two, a mutually beneficial financial partnership which requires both sides to provide input. The advisor shouldn’t be shouldering all the blame for investments which don’t work out. They also shouldn’t be doing all the work, when developing new investment strategies. The financial client partnership should be a symbiotic relationship because both parties have something to win… or to lose.
Financial advisors often form partnerships with insurance agents, accountants, even other advisors, but the notion of creating a partnership with a client may seem like a novel idea to them. Forming a financial client partnership is a way for advisors to get on the same page with clients. It encourages the client to get more skin in the game, not monetarily, but with input about where their money is being invested. It also helps clients set goals and then holds them to those goals.
Some financial advisors have begun to recognize that deepening their relationships with clients by addressing their intellectual, emotional, and social needs results in very high client-retention rates and healthy practice growth.
“Advisors are becoming much more holistic,” said Kathleen Roth, certified financial planner and partner with Waterstone Financial Services, Fort Myers, FL, told CNBC. “In the past, we were the technical expert interfaces between the client and the marketplace. Now we’re helping them make their life work.”
Some advisors help clients recognize their emotional relationship with money. Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, SD, is one such group. The management firm gives a series of web-based homework assignments, which include filling out a questionnaire to uncover unconscious beliefs about money and drawing sketches of a personal money history and a family dynamics chart.
Planning a financial strategy together is a great way to help ease the burden of the advisor, while clients stand to become more intellectually, perhaps even more emotionally, invested in the process. In fact, as clients come to better articulate their goals and understand what it takes to get there, they will feel like they really own their financial plan. The advisor must be willing to share the credit for success as well.
Free and open communication is essential to the health of the financial client partnership. Working together and exchanging ideas helps create that strong long-term relationship planners should be working toward. Two people who have both done their homework make for a powerful and focused team. This can create a high retention rate for advisors and increase the rate of growth for business.
Creating a sound financial client partnership helps both parties build success. Any partnership, in business or in life, takes work. When both parties have something to contribute, as well as something to gain or lose, they are put on the same footing. It makes them equals.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.
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