In Focus: When Clients' Plans Change  

How to encourage clients to let you control their outcomes

 

The more influence clients have over the process, the harder it will be for planners to control the outcomes.

This is a phrase that resonates with Francis Klonowski, certified financial planner and sole proprietor of Klonowski & Co.

While he does not actively state this to his clients, he told FTAdviser he often has this in the back of his mind when he comes to setting up a robust financial plan for clients. 

Speaking to FTAdviser on the latest In Focus Fireside chat, the industry veteran - who has been in financial services since 1988 - said: "If a client thinks they ought to have something, they need to have very good reasons why they need it.

"I always think back to eight years ago when I was in for a knee replacement. The anaesthetist came to tell me that patients are now awake for the procedure. I was adamant I was not going to be awake for it. But when he explained it all, I said, 'you're the professional'.

"He then said something very profound: 'You can have the anaesthetic if you want to, and be asleep for the procedure, but the more you try to influence the process, the less control we have over the outcome'.

"As soon as he said it I kept it with me and I thought of all those clients who want something in gold or cryptocurrency. It is not a line that I am brave enough to repeat but I keep the principle in mind."

He also said he does not actively target the children of his clients when it comes to passing wealth onto the next generation. As far as he is concerned, once his clients' money is passed to their adult children, then the children are free to choose their own financial planner. 

Klonowski said: "Don't take it for granted that you will get the children as clients. Children have their own agendas. 

"I think you need to be very careful about selling the concept of them hanging onto their money. They may just want to take that money and use it for their own purposes and if you try to convince them otherwise, you risk coming over in the wrong way. 

"Wait til everything is settled and then ask if they would like to meet up." 

This flies in the face of perceived wisdom, namely that advisers should actively court the next generation of clients to retain their services as the trusted adviser.  

To listen to the full interview, click on the image above.

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com