What Clients Want
If you want to create and sustain a great experience for your clients, you first need to understand what they want and expect from you. In a recent and fairly exhaustive study on what clients expect from their investment advisors, Jeremiah Desmarais, one of the leading voices for marketing strategies to the investment industry, identifies six “must-haves.” As reported in a NASDAQ article earlier this year, Desmarais explains that clients want:
- Understanding—This means knowing them as people and all the joys and challenges in their lives. It’s more than just their financial condition.
- Respect—This means respecting their financial situation regardless of their age or the amount of money they have accumulated.
- Integrity—Your commitment to your fiduciary responsibility should be visible in every action you take and every area of your practice.
- Accessibility—This is a common client frustration. Actively stay in touch and respond rapidly when clients contact you.
- Education—Clients want to be educated so they can make informed, wise decisions.
- Holistic Problem Solver—This means helping clients solve any financial challenges in their lives, not just managing their portfolios.
The Investment Advisor’s Dilemma
Most advisors would readily acknowledge the importance of meeting these important client expectations. But to do so effectively and consistently requires a large investment of time. And apparently, the amount of time many advisors can spend meeting with clients is woefully insufficient.
A survey conducted a few years ago by Michael Kitces, an influential industry commentator and blogger, found that the typical financial advisor spends as little as 20% of their time meeting with clients. In Kitces’s words:
“The fact that so much of an advisor’s time is not spent directly on client activities, and that even the majority of client-related tasks are more “back office” in nature (e.g., client servicing, meeting preparation and doing various analysis suggest that there is room for significant increase in advisor efficiency, either through delegation to staff, better technology, or both.” - Michael Kitces
While we agree with Kitces’s suggestion about better delegation to staff, we also find that the advisors’ greatest time thief is usually the technology component of their practice. We often see investment advisors add new technologies to their practice that they believe will make them more efficient when they actually have the opposite effect. Advisors and teams inevitably spend a lot of time between setup, training, and maintenance.
Also, piecing different technologies together from different vendors is generally another exercise in frustration. The APIs that allow disparate technologies to connect and communicate often need to be customized, a slow and expensive process.
The Solution? Outsource and Consolidate
You know where your time is best spent and where you provide the most value: financial planning, nurturing client relationships, and developing relationships with new prospective clients. So how can you lose the distractions and focus on what matters? A few ideas...
- Leveraging a compliance consultant takes important requirements off your plate and onto the plate of a trained professional team that is always in touch with new industry regulations and compliance requirements. They can help with employee training, mock audits, and annual filings.
- If you don’t have in-house marketing staff, finding talented freelancers and copywriters can give your brand a polished edge. Don’t toil over designing emails or writing blogs when you should be focused on clients. Outsourcing marketing tasks can get you the polished look you want, without the headache.
- But it’s not just about outsourcing. Consolidating your tech stack is equally essential, and a Turnkey Asset Management Platform (TAMP) makes it easy. You will want to work with a TAMP that has developed its own proprietary software. That way, you benefit by using a single integrated platform that seamlessly connects a range of technologies that includes reconciliation, billing, reporting, trading, and others.
Offload the burdensome and non-essential functions that consume so much of your time, and experience the freedom to spend your time doing what you most enjoy.