Effective Client Management: My Client is Trying to Talk Politics, What Should I Do?
The 2016 presidential election was one for the history books. Donald Trump’s unprecedented and unexpected victory sent shockwaves around the world. On election night, political pundits, over-caffeinated talking heads, and armchair politicos alike were rendered speechless. However, that mouth-agape, shocked silence and momentary break in the nonstop political discourse of 2016 was short-lived and the incessant political chatter is back in full force. As we first discussed in this previously published Summit blog, entitled “Client Management Tips: What to Do If Your Clients Are Freaking Out Over the Election Results,” many of your financial advisory clients are likely anxious about what effect the election results and the upcoming Trump Administration will have on their finances. Your clients’ concerns are relevant and viable and thus appropriate for discussion. As a financial advisor, this brings up the effective client management issue of how to talk to clients about politics.
After all, as a financial advisor, you serve as a trusted advisor for your clients and want to keep lines of communication open and honest. But what do you do in the sticky, potentially polarizing situation where your client is trying to talk politics with you? No matter where you fall on the political spectrum—independent, apathetic, green, red, or blue—here are a few useful tips for you:
- Conventional wisdom for financial advisors says that the best way to talk about politics with clients is to avoid the topic altogether. But the 2016 election has defied every convention, thus somewhat bending the conventional wisdom of the past. If you are going to talk politics with clients, make sure they are the ones who first broach the topic.
- Try to redirect all political conversations away from personal political ideologies and opinions and back to the more relevant topic of your clients’ finances and the effect politics and other events outside of their control may have on their finances and financial plans for the future.
- Remember that first and foremost, your clients are nervous and need reassurance and hand-holding during this time of change. Keep in mind that clients always tend to get nervous about their finances in election years regardless of which candidate and political party takes power.
- When discussing the effect politics have on your clients’ finances, try to focus on the political policies that may be at play rather than the political personalities behind the policies. Stick to speaking about the facts regarding politics and fiscal and monetary policy rather than inserting your personal opinion into the conversation. To avoid alienating (and potentially losing) clients whose political views may be divergent from yours, your goal should be to maintain a strict policy of neutrality and unbiased advice at all times.
- If your client directly asks you who you voted for, do your best to redirect the conversation back to your clients and their needs. For example, you could try answering the “who did you vote for question?” with this response: “That’s irrelevant now. Let’s talk about you and your finances. Are you nervous about the effect the change in party in power will have on your financial plan. Let’s talk about some of the ways we can best fortify your plan to hold up against any changes and uncertainty in the future.” This would be an opportune time to strategize with your clients about aspects of their financial plan they can control such as their spending habits.
Summit Brokerage Services was voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. To experience the Summit difference and learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, visit https://www.summitbrokerage.com or call us at (800) 354-5528.
About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.
About Cetera Financial Group
Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions. Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations. Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology. For more information, visit www.ceterafinancialgroup.com.
*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.