Advice Matters

Monday March 25th 2019

For financial planners, advice is the key deliverable. We will keep you up to date regarding trends, ideas and other important issues relating to advice. Please contribute to the advice discussion and feel free to comment on any of the articles we post. We value your opinion. You’re also very welcome to share the articles with your friends or colleagues.

The latest Advice Matters articles are reflected below.

How do I improve my client relationships?

Financial planning has come a long way in terms of processes and experience and products have evolved. One of the key concepts implemented was the six-step financial planning process introduced by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) as a guideline and methodology for efficient and effective financial planning. The thinking behind these steps was to ensure that your clients’ needs are always top of mind for both you and them. Although this might sound simple and logical, it is not always that easy. Unfortunately, many investors are still hesitant to work with a financial planner and need encouragement to appoint one.

Digital technology is also rapidly changing the way we do business and robo-advisers are on the rise. The growing popularity of online investment advice platforms may seem like a cause of concern. However, it’s important to remember that robo-advice can never replace the human element of financial advice.

Establishing trust during your initial engagement with your client is key to your relationship. Financial planning can be daunting and many clients feel uncomfortable discussing their finances and private information with a financial planner that they don’t know that well. This is often a major hurdle for planners and therefore it’s important to kick off your planning process in the right way. The financial planner – client relationship is a delicate one. To help you forge deeper, longer-lasting and more compatible relationships with your clients it is very important to gain their trust. Building trust requires establishing an emotional connection by showing a real interest in their lives. By asking the right questions, listening intently to the answers and creating an atmosphere of trust, your clients will have peace of mind that their affairs are taken care of.

The concept of relatedness is closely linked to trust. There is a reason clients do not trust everyone they meet. Clients may trust you more if you see the world like they see it, share their views and belief systems. Relatedness will therefore prevail if they can find common ground and relate to your process. Consistent, clear and transparent communication, setting clear parameters upfront and managing client expectations on an ongoing basis are core in the process of establishing trust. If you can bring each of these areas of your client’s experience to life, it will build for a long and mutually-rewarding relationship.