3 Tools to Help Advisors Do More With Less
As the COVID- 19 pandemic has severelyaffected businesses and families acrossthe country, financial planners have hadto contend with more than the usualfinancial stress and worry from clientssince last year.
A survey conducted by the CFP Boardin April 2020 found that 64% of certifiedfinancial planners said their clients wereexperiencing high or very high levels ofstress. According to the survey, the topthree financial concerns expressed by clients were managing volatility, protectingassets and liquidity.
Since social distancing and Zoometiquette became part of the nationaldiscourse, advisors have been bombardedwith questions and requests for advicefrom clients. The CFP Board reported that78% of CFP professionals experienced anincrease in client inquiries during the pandemic, and 34% of CFP professionals haveseen a rise in inquiries from prospects.
We have observed this trend among theadvisors utilizing our NaviPlan financialplanning platform. In June 2020 alone,there was a 64% increase in updates tofinancial plans completed in NaviPlan,compared with June 2019. Also, as of Oct.5, 2020, advisors had created 828,000new financial plans year-to-date, or
138,000 new plans per month — and had
updated more than 1.02 million existing
plans, or 170,000 per month, year-to-date.
This higher demand for
advisor time and expertise,
while also continuing to
operate their practices effi-
ciently and generate new
business, means the pan-
demic has accelerated trends
in the industry. The good
news is there is technology
that already was available
before COVID- 19 that can
help advisors manage the
uptick in inquiries from clients and pros-
pects, while enhancing their value propo-
sition and growing their businesses.
Here are three digital tools that advisors can harness to do more for clientsand prospects, in less time.
1. Client Portals
Advisors can strengthen their engagement with clients through interactiveportals, where clients can access theirfinancial plans remotely at any time fromany location. The portals offered by sometechnology providers enable clients — ontheir own — to adjust contributions andtime spans, and see how those changeswould affect their goals.
However, advisors also can monitor clients’ activity within the client portal, andbegin financial planning conversationswith clients based on the information theyentered and the scenarios they viewed.
2. Side-by-Side Scenarios
Some modern financial planning solu-
tions include presentation tools allowing
advisors to create side-by-side scenarios
to address clients’ questions and con-
cerns. When an anxious client calls about
market activity, an advisor can act as a
calming influence by modeling the client’s
current financial situation next to the advi-
sor’s recommended plan of action — with-
in the client portal. If the advisor’s finan-
cial planning technology provider enables
the modeling of unlimited scenarios, then
the advisor can address any hypothetical
question and demonstrate the impact of
any recommendation in real time.
3. Self-Guided Retirement Needs AnalysisAt a time when many people have beenlaid off or furloughed, and haven’t beenable to save money for retirement dueto a decrease or loss of income, advisors can showcase their value by helpingprospects estimate how much moneythey need to cover expenses and meetgoals in retirement.
Some solutions enable advisors toemail a link to prospects that can takethem to a portal where — on their owntime, and at their own pace — they canfill in details such as age, family makeupand current annual income. The platform’s calculation engine can then usethese details to estimate how much savings the prospect would need to meetlikely expenses and meet their goals.Smart assumptions, and integrationswith third-party providers of health caredata, can also help prospects estimatehow much they would need to save inorder to cover all likely medical expensesin each phase of retirement.
These smarter, more accurate retirement projections also can help advisorsbetter understand each prospect’s concerns, financial situation, and goals beforebeginning more in-depth conversations.—Angela Pecoraro, CEO, Advicent
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