Posts Tagged ‘Portfolio Reviews’
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Optimize Your Client Year-End Reviews
Year-end portfolio reviews are around the corner; as you start scheduling your client meetings take this opportunity to leverage the organic potential in your business. Research shows us that today’s investor is seeking a deeper level of portfolio review. Beyond returns and data, clients want to build a deep relationship with their advisor.
The more you know about your clients, the easier it is to provide the products that best suit their needs. Be curious about their opinions and viewpoints, and make a habit of asking them what they think and what is important to them. “Imagining yourself in your clients’ shoes is one way to figure out what they need”, says Rosemary Smyth, international business coach for financial advisors.
Five tips to improve client service are:
- Be fully present.
- Establish trust. Give honest answers and be straightforward about what you can do.
- Empathize with your clients. Imagine what they are going through, especially during tough times.
- Be patient. Even when you have answered the same question many previous times, answer it patiently.
- Be open to learning. There are always new ways to deal with clients.
Focus on each client as an unique individual that just wants to be seen, heard and understood. Personalize your client service so that you are treating them how they would like to be treated. Pay attention to their body language as it can tell you what is not being said.
“Here are some useful tools you can easily implement to deepen your relationship with clients and uncover business opportunities”, says Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist in Montreal.
1. Put more structure into client meetings.
Start using a meeting flow chart to get the most out of every client meeting and constantly find new ways to be of greater service to your clients:
- Inquire about their family
- Ask what’s on their mind, and about any significant changes since last meeting
- Review the portfolio and investments
- Check for outside investments (offer second opinion)
- Discuss other topics or concerns they may have
- Summarize and present an action plan, invite them to an upcoming event
- Walk the client to the elevator and thank them for the meeting.
2. Use goal-driven client reviews.
Behind the market and the returns, there’s a person, a family and a business. Show your client you care beyond their investment and let them guide you towards their personal ambitions. Ask open-ended questions, such as:
- What is your vision of an ideal retirement?
- Have you discussed with your significant other his/her vision of retirement?
- What values would you like to pass on to your children regarding money?
- Do you have concerns regarding the wealth transfer to your children?
3. Ask about their expectations.
As you can’t assume or guess your client’s satisfaction level, ask open-ended questions to show your clients you value their opinions.
- We are reviewing the effectiveness of our portfolio review meetings with our clients. How valuable you find the reporting we provide? Is there enough information? Does it clearly explain how your portfolio performed? Why or why not?
- Are there ways we could improve the timeliness and effectiveness of our responses?
- Are there ways we could improve our communications? (Cite a specific communication piece such as investment commentary, market outlook or newsletter.)
- What are two or three ways our firm could improve how we serve you?
4. Offer additional services.
If you want to become your client’s trusted advisor, you must constantly elevate the client experience and earn their trust.
- Propose a complete financial plan to further preserve their lifestyle that they have taken years to attain; and
- Offer insurance analysis to protect their loved ones and to ensure they do not become a “burden” on their families.
There are great opportunities surrounding the portfolio review meeting; opportunities to deepen the client relationship, to deliver exceptionally personalised service that distinguish you and to elevate your service, offering helping them safely achieve their goals and objectives.
What will you do to leverage the organic potential in your business?
Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at www.rosemarysmyth.com. You can email Rosemary at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Gilbert, FMA, FCSI, CSWP, is Founder and Business Consultant of Strategist Business development. She brings over 15 years of wealth management industry experience to help wealth advisor develop and implement business building strategies. Visit her website at: www.Strategist.cc, you can reach her via email at: Sara.Gilbert@Strategist.cc
Tags: Best Suit, Body Language, Business Coach, Business Research, Client Meetings, Financial Advisors, Honest Answers, International Business, Meetin, New Ways, Portfolio Reviews, Relationship With Clients, Rosemary, Sara Gilbert, Smyth, Strategist, Tough Times, Useful Tools, Viewpoints, Year End
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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
How client feedback drove dramatic gains in one advisor’s business
Many advisors have heard about the benefits of a Client Advisory Board. Today, an advisor who leads a six person team discusses how her very first meeting yielded startling insights on everything from the most effective form of communication to portfolio reviews to how to encourage referrals.
Note that this advisor recruited the members of her board by posting a notice in her newsletter inviting clients interested in participating to let her know, and then supplemented this by approaching a few clients directly.
This article originally appeared in Horsesmouth, the leading advisor practice management site. Anyone interested can get a 45 day free trial to Horsesmouth here:
By: Debra Taylor, CPA/PFS
I am constantly striving to follow best practices and become more efficient as my firm and I grow. Following best practices, we recently held our first Client Advisory Board (CAB) meeting. Although it is too soon to say for certain, I think it may be the best $500 I have ever spent on my clients. (In fact, I didn’t even spend it, as one of my local vendors was more than happy to foot the bill.)
I expected the CAB to serve as a way for me to be more in tune with my clients’ wants and needs so that I could better serve them, but it is turning out to be much more than that. I now have eight action items on my plate, plus the knowledge that my clients have a vested interest making our firm stronger.
We held the CAB meeting in a private room at our local country club and had eight clients in attendance. We met for about two hours and followed the agenda below, which was presented to each client.
|Client Advisory Board Meeting Agenda|
|I. Introduction of Advisory Board purpose: A collection of our best clients who have been brought together to advise us on the strategic direction of our firm.
II. Introduction of our team and members of the
Client Advisory Board
III. Understanding our unique services
a. What unique services do we offer you?
b. What should we be offering you?
c. What areas of our service could we improve on?
d. What is our greatest strength?
e. What are our weaknesses?
f. What are your thoughts on our team?
g. What do you know about our broker-dealer? Would you like to know more?
IV. Client communications
a. The Weekender
i. Do you read it?
ii. What would you like to see in it?
iii. What should we remove from it?
b. Meeting notes
i. Do you review them?
ii. Would you like us to change how we provide you with meeting notes?
iii. What would you like to be included in your meeting notes that isn’t currently included?
i. Do we adequately inform you of market conditions or changes in your portfolio between reviews?
ii. Do we notify you in a timely manner about items such as contribution deadlines and other important events?
iii. Would you like to be notified in a different way?
V. Portfolio reviews
a. How often do you have them?
b. How often would you like to have them?
c. Do you review your meeting kit?
i. Would you like to see anything added to your meeting kit?
ii. Would you like anything removed from your meeting kit?
d. Would you like your portfolio reviews to be in person or over the phone?
e. What would you like to get out of your meeting?
f. What could we do better in our reviews?
VI. Financial planning tools
a. Would you like to hear more about our comprehensive financial planning?
b. Do you think a financial plan could be useful to you?
c. What would you like to get out of a comprehensive financial plan?
VII. Investment strategies
a. What strategies are we using that others are not?
b. Are there investment strategies that we are not using that you would like to see us use?
c. Are there strategies that we are using that you do not like and would like for us to improve upon?
VIII. Client events
a. Upcoming events (What should we be offering?)
a. Next actions
I was worried that my clients would be reluctant to share with me, especially those things that my staff and I could be doing better. To address this concern, I invited my most outspoken client, a former college professor, to act as the catalyst for open communication.
During the early part of the meeting, we talked about the accessibility of my staff and the openness and transparency of our processes and fees. I received 10 minutes of positive responses, which made me a little nervous; worried that my CAB meeting was turning into a love fest and no actionable items would come out of it. So I baited my outspoken client, mentioning a transfer that was not properly processed in his account; then the condor started to surface.
We started to talk about the relationship with my broker-dealer. Many of our clients were actually unaware of the relationship, and we dedicated a considerable amount of time discussing my broker-dealer’s custodial and compliance roles.
I believe my clients found the explanations to be reassuring. It also puts me at ease to know that should I take the next step in going RIA, I would have a loyal following among my clients and not lose a significant portion of them. If nothing else comes from a CAB, the renewed faith and boosts in confidence you get from hearing your clients praise and appreciate your work is definitely valuable!
1. Explain our relationship with our broker-dealer to our clients so they gain a better understanding of the benefits.
Our firm sends out a newsletter called The Weekender every Friday. It is our main distribution channel for disseminating information to clients and prospects on a mass scale.
We have used The Weekender to distribute our weekly market commentary and to stay top-of-mind on a regular basis. As it turns out, our clients were eager to learn more about their investments, learn more about the markets, and have a more personal relationship with the firm.
As a result of CAB input, we have made radical changes to The Weekender. We now include a “Did You Know?” column that highlights a different investment topic every week, a “Personal Finance Corner” that highlights a different personal finance piece every week (whether it be accelerating your mortgage payments or highlighting credit card rewards programs), and a “From Where I Sit,” column, which is written with a more intimate tone and allows me to connect with my clients on a personal level.
Action items (cont’d)
2. Continue to build on the success of The Weekender
3. Create other meaningful ways to connect with clients on a more personal level
We have a very thorough process for portfolio review meeting with our clients, whether they are quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. We start with a member of our team reviewing the accounts and their performance with the client. I then discuss any changes that we are recommending and any new strategies or managers we should be considering. We then discuss any changes in the client’s needs and follow up by answering any questions they may raise.
Following best practices, we schedule our next appointment before the client leaves, and within 48 hours, a member of our team sends notes that summarize the meeting and outline any action items to be done by ourselves or our clients.
As it turns out, the CAB reported that meeting notes are quite valuable to the clients, and they appreciate that we put our promises for action items in writing; thus holding ourselves accountable. Although the clients asked that we be less thorough and specific about the investments in their portfolios and focus more on the overall performance, this is one time I think I will err on the side of compliance and caution.
Action items (cont’d)
4. Be more to the point in portfolio reviews
5. Put more emphasis on the delivery of meeting notes
We closed by discussing client events and seminars. We learned that our clients wanted more “lunch and learn seminars” and more client appreciation events. We will still hold our fun events, although we have now scheduled a “lunch and learn” every six weeks for the rest of the year.
Our clients expressed interest in learning more about their options when it comes to Social Security, transitioning to retirement, estate planning, tax planning, and market conditions. Not only will these lunch and learns help strengthen my relationships with my clients, but they will help me strengthen my relationships with industry professionals and centers of influence. I will invite an estate planning accountant and attorney to conduct these seminars and hopefully strengthen them as referral sources.
6. Provide more educational events, such as monthly seminar topics and speakers
7. Offer more opportunities to spend social time with my clients
Although many advisors hold Client Advisory Board meetings as part of their referral marketing, I have always struggled with asking my clients for referrals; although I do. However, I was very surprised and found it most interesting that my clients did not wait for me to discuss this topic; they raised it on their own!
One of my clients said they have been so impressed with our firm and the way that we manage their investments that they have been meaning to refer their friends and family to us, but haven’t had the opportunity or venue to do so. They wanted to bring their friends and family members to a lunch or some other client events in order to make an introduction and actually show them firsthand what our firm is all about, rather than just recommending our services.
Wow! That was an amazing insight. With the help of these clients, I will be able to grow my practice even faster than I could have ever imagined.
Action items (cont’d)
8. Hold “bring a friend” events specifically designed and marketed for clients to introduce others to the firm.
Your clients are your lifeline, and you should be should listening to them. I have always believed that if you do right by your clients, listen to their needs and desires, and do everything in your power to provide them a superior client experience, it will pay dividends. Our Client Advisory Board experience has just reinforced this belief for our firm.
Tags: Advisory Board, Aspx, Attendance, Best Practices, Board Meeting Agenda, Client Feedback, Cpa, Debra Taylor, Dramatic Gains, First Meeting, Free Trial, Local Country, Mechanics, Person Team, Portfolio Reviews, Practice Management, Private Room, Referrals, Startling Insights, Vested Interest
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
In the Q & A after my talk on referrals at a recent conference, an advisor asked about the best way to interact with clients today — and also how to get in front of prospects in the current environment.
Personalized portfolio reviews and one on one contact are essential to let clients know how they’re doing and to assure them that their portfolios are holding up — that’s especially true in turbulent markets like we’ve seen of late.
The challenge in times of stress is that given how many clients want to hear from you, trying to reach everyone in person can be impractical. And if we’re not careful, the focus on existing clients means we miss the opportunity to reach out to prospects.
It’s here where vehicles that allow you to efficiently reach multiple clients at the same time can be effective. Some advisors invite clients to evening town hall meetings, at which they discuss market developments. Others host conference calls for clients, during which the advisor and an outside money manager review where the market standas .
Town halls and conference calls can be effective supplements to regular contact, but during market turmoil even these can fall short of the frequency of updates that some clients are seeking — and they also have limited impact when it comes to prospects.
That’s the appeal of a strategy that one advisor employed in the 2008 to reach both existing and prospective clients — an approach he began using again in the past month.
Offering to send articles and videos
Last month, I wrote about some guidelines for effective client communication during turbulent periods. As part of that, I mentioned an advisor named Robert who I sat down with in September of 2008. A 20-year veteran and a multi-million dollar producer, he wanted to talk about ramping up his client contact.
As a result of our conversation, Robert and two associates on his team began calling clients with this offer: “Given what’s happened to markets, we have ramped up the time we spend each week reviewing a variety of the very best sources for new insights. In light of the current uncertainty, I’d be happy to send you articles or video interviews I find especially relevant. Is this something that would be of interest?”
Almost without exception, clients expressed strong interest in getting this information. Then they asked a follow up question:
“And how frequently would you like to get an article or video? I could send these to you once a week, once every two weeks or once a month.”
Most clients responded that they’d like to get these weekly — although some did choose every two weeks or every month. In each case, Robert promised to start sending these emails — and asked clients to call or send an email if they had any questions about the information they received.
Making weekly emails happen
When I met with Robert, I suggested he send out emails on Saturday mornings. There were two reasons for sending these on Saturday — first because clients are more likely to be able to focus on the articles on Saturday, second because of the message this sent that Robert and his team were going the extra mile and not treating the crisis as business as usual.
Robert and his team set out a schedule to make these emails happen. First, they had to select the weekly item to go to clients by end of the day Wednesday; Robert’s branch manager agreed that if he received the article or video on Wednesday, approval would follow no later than noon on Friday.
Each weekend, Robert and his team divided up responsibility for reviewing publications like Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg Business Week, New York Times, the Economist and Financial Times. They also looked at Barrons and Wall Street Journal, although these were less likely candidates for articles to send clients, since they limit access unless you’re an online subscriber.
Robert and his team also looked for videos they could email clients. They began viewing the PBS interview shows Charlie Rose and Consuelo Mack and also divided up responsibility for checking the schedules on Bloomberg and CNBC for possible videos. Finally, Robert asked contacts at his head office and wholesalers he dealt with to forward articles that could be candidates to send clients.
On Wednesday morning, Robert and his team sat down to review candidates for the Saturday email. Their problem was never finding something to send; it was choosing just one item from among the available options. Once they made their selection, Robert wrote a short note to go along with the article or video, that he submitted for approval at the same time as the item itself.
Finally, all clients were divided into three categories for the Saturday morning emails.
For those who chose the weekly option, the email began: “When we spoke, you indicated you’d like to receive an article or video once a week. If you’d like to get this less often, please let me know.”
For clients who opted for biweekly emails, their email was headed: “When we spoke, you said you’d like to receive an article or video every two weeks. Please let me know if you’d like to receive this either more often or less often.”
And for clients who picked the monthly alternative, the email said: “When we spoke, you said you’d like to receive an article or video every month. Please let me know if you’d like to receive this more frequently.”
Leveraging client communication with prospects
Tags: Amp, Client Communication, Dollar Producer, Email, Host Conference, Market Developments, Market Turmoil, Money Manager, Portfolio Reviews, Portfolios, Prospective Clients, Prospects, Ra, Referrals, Stress, Town Hall Meetings, Town Halls, Turbulent Markets, Turbulent Periods, Veteran
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Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Experienced advisors know there’s no substitute for face to face meetings to review portfolios, especially in times such as these.
In some instances, however, a client’s location or schedule make it impossible to meet face to face — in those cases, you need to look at an alternative method to conduct that review.Recently, I’ve talked to a number of advisors who are having good success with structured telephone meetings to conduct portfolio reviews.
To be successful, telephone reviews have to look and feel like a face to face review.
An appointment is set for the call, just as would be the case for a meeting.
An agenda for the phone meeting is agreed to and sent to the client in advance of the meeting.
Clients are given the opportunity to raise questions and have concerns addressed.
And after the call, clients receive a summary of what was discussed and next steps.
For maximum effectiveness, you need to be able to point to a client’s statement during the call and clients should have visual support for any recommendations you’re making.
To do this, advisors can either email material to clients beforehand or utilize web conferencing software such as gotomeeting.com or webex that allows advisors to email clients a link. When clients click on that link, the advisor controls their screen and can take clients through their statement online or through a PowerPoint presentation.
In talking to clients who are using telephone meetings, another advantage of phone meetings is that they tend to be more focused — clients are less likely to drift off topic, since the visual on the screen keeps them on track
Just remember, telephone meetings lack the intimacy and personal dimension of a face to face meeting — while they can be a good supplement to face to face reviews, they are not a substitute, for key clients it’s still important to meet once a year.
To see a short video interview with one advisor who has focused on telephone reviews, click below:
Tags: Appointment, Email Clients, Face To Face, Good Success, Instances, Intimacy, Maximum Effectiveness, Meeting Agenda, Opportunity, Personal Dimension, Phone Meetings, Portfolio Reviews, Portfolios, Powerpoint Presentation, Supplement Reviews, Telephone Reviews, Video Interview, Web Conferencing Software, Webex
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