Archive for May 25th, 2011
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
The CIFPs 8th National Conference Review
By Marc Lamontagne, CFP, R.F.P, FMA
This is my second consecutive year attending this conference and once again the agenda was PACKED. Each day began about 7:30 am and typically went to 6:00 pm, with dinner starting pronto at 6:30. You clearly earn your CE credits and receive your money’s worth at this conference.
The agenda was a smorgasbord; enough to quench the thirst for novelty of 500 to 600 attendees. The highlight was undoubtedly Hermann F. Leiningen with RBC Global Asset Management. Leiningen was very funny, and he managed to walk the audience through several complex economic scenarios and sustain their interest!
Take away: Expect U.S. interest rates to stay low for at least the next nine months or until there is a jobs recovery, stocks are still trading at the lower end of the band due to continued global economic uncertainty, and the demand for oil from China and India has barely scratched the surface.
Like any conference there were a few mutual fund company “talking heads,” although the more interesting material came from industry participants such as Cary List, President and CEO of the Financial Planners Standards Council. List presented some of the findings of their recent consumer survey on the benefits of financial planning. This is news that all CFP professionals will want to share with their clients and prospects. Shawn Brayman, President of PlanPlus, offered us an overview of the top academic and industry research in the field of financial planning. However, he had so many fascinating papers to discuss, it was unfortunate he had only an hour to cover his material. And yours truly gave a short presentation on the recent 2010 Advisor Survey Report, concluding that the delivery of financial advice is not that different between fee and commission models.
Susan Wolburg Jenah, President & CEO of IIROC, provided an update on the Client Relationship Model (CRM) proposals that will impose greater disclosure on the industry in order to increase investor protection. However, the CRM has dragged on for so long and morphed so many times, it is hard to believe it will ever materialize. Asked by an attendee how the developments on compensation in the U.K. and Australia might affect us here, Wolburg Jenah said that IIROC was keeping a close eye on developments that could potentially influence compensation models in Canada, although it is preferable that industry participants “voluntarily” assess how to better align the interests of clients and advisors.
The final day ended at noon, but the morning still had several excellent speakers such as Dr. Dale Orr, Jamie Golombek, and Kevin O’Brien, who filled the morning with great nuggets of wisdom.
Take away: Dr. Orr from Economic Insight provided his short-term predictions for Canada’s economy: negligible inflation, the dollar will trade close to par or maybe even higher if the price of oil increases, short-term rates will be higher in Canada than the U.S. (again putting upward pressure on our dollar), expect the Bank of Canada policy rate to increase by 25 basis-points at every fixed announcement date for the next three years until it reaches the target of 4% to 4.5%, and finally, don’t expect to see a balanced federal budget until 2014–2015.
Jamie Golombek from CIBC Private Wealth Management, who always stages a grand show, regaled the audience with stories of creative brokers who supposedly found loopholes in the TFSA contribution rules. He also offered several useful tax strategies, updates, and suggestions on advising your clients based on recent tax court decisions.
Take away: Advisors should be recommending to almost every client that they top up their TFSA contribution room prior to making RRSP contributions.
And finally, certified financial planner Kevin O’Brien from Kevin O’Brien & Associates told the audience his sometimes funny, sometimes heartfelt story of managing his parent’s messy estate before he became an advisor. It affected his current approach to estate planning so much that he published his story for other advisors to read in Where There’s a Will….There’s a Way.
Overall, it was an excellent conference, and I would highly recommend attending CIFP 2011 to be held in Ottawa from June 5 to 8. Media articles from some of the presentations are available on the CIFP website.
Fall Conference Alert!
There are two first-rate conferences coming up in the fall that I will attend and recommend as well worth the investment.
The first is the IAFP Annual Symposium in Banff from September 23 to 25, 2010. This one is particularly enjoyable; it is more symposium than conference because it is anchored by a single financial planning case study. All speakers are required to reference this case study in their presentations and are encouraged to publish papers from their specialty perspective. This certainly eliminates the disorientation one can sometimes feel listening to multiple talking heads on several diverse subjects at other conferences. This year the case study is about a retiring business owner who also happens to be a financial planner (is this a coincidence?). The symposium culminates with a half-day discussion on the case study by the 125+ attendees.
The second is the Knowledge Bureau’s (KB) Distinguished Advisor Conference in Orlando from November 14 to 17, 2010. Knowledge Bureau faculty speakers such as Richard Croft and Doug Nelson are top notch and KB President Evelyn Jacks obviously used her time wisely recruiting the likes of Don Stewart, CEO Sun Life Financial, while she was a fellow member of the Federal Task Force on Financial Literacy. The other compelling reason to attend is this: each day ends at the utterly civilized time of 1:30 pm, giving attendees ample time to enjoy the sun and nearby amenities with colleagues and family.
Marc Lamontagne, CFP, R.F.P., FMA is a fee-based financial planner with Ryan Lamontagne Inc., fee-model practice management trainer, and author of To Fee or Not to Fee II — How to design a fee financial advisory practice. www.tofeeornottofee.com
Tags: Benefits Of Financial Planning, Cfp, Client Relationship, Consumer Survey, Economic Scenarios, Financial Advice, Financial Planners Standards Council, Global Asset Management, Global Economic Uncertainty, Greate, Industry Participants, Leiningen, Mutual Fund Company, Rbc Global, Recovery Stocks, Relationship Model, Second Consecutive Year, Smorgasbord, Survey Report, Talking Heads
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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Two things go into making our days productive — the first is what we do and the second is how we do it.
In recent conversations with advisors, a number have begun using a simple idea to dramatically increase the return they get on their day, by ensuring that they’re focusing on high return activities.The first thing to making your time in the office productive is being intentional, stepping back at the start of the week and asking what is the highest and best use of this week as a whole and each day within this week.
I’ve worked with some advisors recently who have begun spending 15 or 20 inutes planning the week ahead, identifying the biggest priorities. Some do this end of the day Friday, others on Saturday or Sunday.
Just by doing that, advisors tell me that they find their week has greater focus.
The other key to productivity is building consistent routines into your schedule, using the tried and true approach of time blocking.
Routine simplifies our lives — without routine, we’d all have to make so many individual decisions we’d spend most of our time deciding what to do rather than doing it.
Some of the most successful advisors I know have very consistent routines. Each day looks pretty much the same — as long as the routine is one that supports the right activity, it can boost our productivity dramatically.
For many advisors, the best way to establish routine in your day is via time blocking, establishing time in your calendar for key activities.
Suppose you say that you want to meet with your assistant Scott on Monday morning to lay out the week ahead. You can say to yourself — I need to talk to Scott when we both get in. Or you can say to Scott — “let’s book a 15 appointment for 8:30 every Monday morning and build it into our routines.”
Or perhaps you decide you need to spend at least three hours a week talking to prospects. To make that happen, you can try to find time during the week as it is available — or you can book off an appointment at 10 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, focused on picking up the phone and calling prospects.
Here’s another example. One of the advisors who participated in the video interview series available on this website decided to ramp up the number of client phone reviews.
So he did a couple of things. First, he booked off every afternoon from 2 to 4 for telephone reviews.
And then he sat down with his assistant and said: “I’ve set aside 10 time slots each week for phone meetings, one at 2 and one at 3 each afternoon. “Your job is to fill those slots. Let’s talk about who you should approach about those meetings. And let’s talk about what needs to go out to clients in advance of those, an agenda, a pdf of their statement, anything else I want to refer to on the call.”
As a result of building a key activity into his routine, he dramatically ramped up the number of phone meetings with clients.
When you think about it, you can approach your week two ways. You can have desired activity drive the structure of your week. You can say each Monday What do I want to do this week and then fit it into your calendar.
Or you can have the structure of your week drive your activity. You can carve out the same hours each week to meet with staff and for phone meetings, client meetings and to contact prospects.
By putting these hours into your calendar and incorporating them into your routine, you dramatically increase the chances of making high return activities happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from your schedule if something more important comes up, but for most of us having a consistent routine for at least part of our week will make us much more productive.
For more information, please visit http://www.getkeepclients.com.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
A million dollar meeting gone wrong
Landing a meeting with a prospective client with a million dollars to invest doesn’t happen every day — especially when it results from a cold call.
But getting a chance to sit down is only the first step. Over lunch last week, a long-time friend who’s a partner with a downtown Toronto law described a recent meeting with a financial advisor seeking his business and how some subtle errors and obvious mistakes cost the advisor the opportunity to do business.
This lawyer has assets of well over $1 million — our conversation offers a number of important lessons for advisors.
The first relates to what it takes to get a meeting when you’re calling cold.
Cold calling to get meetings:
Here’s what the lawyer told me.
“The original contact came a year ago from a guy calling on behalf of a broker with one of the banks. The only reason that he got through originally was that I get in early so when he called the first time at 7:30 I answered my phone. I blew him off, told him I was happy where I was — but he said he’d like to send me a report from his firm on the outlook for markets regardless. He also said he’d like to touch base in six months. I said sure, figured I’ve never hear from him again — was a bit surprised when that report crossed my desk a week later”
“The same guy called me last fall at about the same time in the morning, guess he’d figured out when I get in — and I told him I still wasn’t interested in meeting. And again he said that he understood, but would like to email me an article from Fortune Magazine that the broker he works with has been sending clients on the outlook for the economy and then touch base in about six months.”
“In March, I got another call — this time from the broker himself. I agreed to give him half an hour over a coffee” the lawyer said. “I was impressed by his low key manner on the phone and his persistence. My comfort level went up when he told me that he dealt with a number of lawyers and had been in the investment industry for 20 years. And I actually felt a bit of obligation, given that I’d twice said his assistant could send me stuff and then he’d followed through both times.”
Takeaways on getting initial meetings
The obvious lesson is that when it comes to getting initial meetings persistence pays.
But there are other lessons as well.
First, if you want to get through to busy people you have to find the time that they’re likely to pick up the phone — whether it be early in the day, later on after their assistant has left or on Saturday mornings. The only way to determine this is through trial and error — and once you’ve had success once, you need to record this for the future.
Second, one way to build trust is by making offers that prospects find valuable and then delivering. Sending those reports and articles helped build credibility — if the person calling for this advisor had said “Just checking to see if you’re ready to buy yet”, while it certainly would have shown persistence, it wouldn’t have created the same impetus to meet.
Finally, one of the keys to winning over prospects is demonstrating patience. A critical factor to the success in securing this meeting was how the calls were spaced out. If the person calling had made the same three calls a month apart, chances are he would have been seen as a pest rather than calling on behalf of someone worth meeting.
A meeting that went wrong
The second set of lessons relate to how you manage that initial interaction with a prospect.
The lawyer went on to talk about the meeting
“We met at the Starbucks underneath my building. He already had a coffee and a table when we got there — he recognized me from my photo on our firm’s website. On the phone he’d asked what kind of coffee I liked in case he got there first — and sure enough he had it waiting for me.
“Our conversation began just fine. He thanked me for taking the time to meet — said he’d like to learn a bit about my situation and would be happy to answer any questions I might have about markets.
“First he asked about how I was investing currently — I told him that I’d worked with a broker in the past but for the past 10 years had been investing on my own. He then asked about how I was invested currently.”
The lawyer paused and went on.
“At that point something weird happened. I have a habit of playing with my pen, this is something I’ve always done.
As I was talking about what I own right now, this guy picks up his pen and starts playing with it also.
Then when I crossed my legs he crossed his as well — and for the rest of our meeting, every time I did something he did the same thing. Frankly, I didn’t know what exactly to think.
After about 15 minutes, this guy says: ‘I appreciate your taking the time today to talk. Let me tell you a bit about my background and approach.”
The lawyer finished our conversation by repeating this advisor’s concluding comments:
“From what you’ve told me, I do think that I might be able to add value to how you’re managing money. As a next step, I’d like to suggest that we meet one lunch hour over a sandwich at my office to review your current investments in more detail — I’d be happy to give you an alternative point of view on what you’re doing right now. There would be no cost or obligation for this.
My office is just a block away from here. I’m free a week from Friday and on Monday of the following week. Which of these two would work better for you?”
The lawyer wrapped us his summary of the meeting:
Tags: 1 Million, Assets, Banks, Coffee, Cold Call, Cold Cold, Contact, Desk, Economy, Fortune Magazine, Half An Hour, Lawyer, Lawyers, Long Time Friend, Lunch, Million Dollars, Persistence, Prospective Client, Six Months, Subtle Errors
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