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Allow clients to see behind the curtain

Darren Cooke

Darren Cooke

I recently described a friend as the most laidback man in financial planning. 

He took the compliment with the good grace I would expect, but said it was an act and much of the time he is like a swan.

Calm and grace on the surface, paddling like mad under the water.

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That is pretty accurate for many of us dealing with clients.

One of the benefits we give our customers is to make their lives easier.

We aim to take away all the financial clutter and make their lives far simpler by organising the more complicated financial elements for them.

We do all the difficult bits so they do not have to and they can get on with enjoying life.

The problem is, if we are really good at it, the client does not actually get to see everything we do for them and it can all start to look a bit too simple and easy.

Once that happens, there is a risk they start to question what exactly we are doing for our annual fees, particularly if the adviser does not manage the money and that has been passed over to a discretionary fund manager.

Recent surveys have shown no matter what we think we do for clients and where we think we add value, they still place value on investing money.

In part, I think, because they do not know what else we do and how much that adds to them and their financial plans.

Vanguard, among others, has done work on this to show the ‘adviser alpha’ and we need to show that to clients.

We must find ways to show the value we add in financial and tax planning, asset allocation, income withdrawal strategies, reducing investment costs and behavioural coaching.

The biggest, most valuable benefit of all is the peace of mind we give clients, which is also the hardest thing to put a value on.

Sometimes we just need to let the clients look behind the curtain and see the myriad small tasks we undertake daily, both for each individual client and for our business as a whole to the benefit of all clients.

If we can do that in a positive manner, if we prove our value time and again,then no client will ever question your fees or whatyou do for them.

Darren Cooke is a chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning