One of the buzz words in the intermediary sector at the moment is that of “proposition” Some advisers don’t like the word perhaps because they feel it should be obvious what it is that a financial adviser does. But a key factor for success for any adviser should be the ability to articulate their proposition. If an annual review is part of that proposition it needs to be described. At last year’s Institute of Financial Planning conference Rory Percival of the FCA said:
“If a client is going to take on your service then they need to know what exactly is involved in an annual review, not just have a statement that one will occur.”
How true that is. It is easy to say to a client that the review will take place but much better to show them what that review will contain. Certainly have an agenda to show them which bullet points all the items that you will discuss with them. If you produce a review report then show them an example (suitably depersonalised) so that they can see the extent to which you review their financial plans.
As intermediaries we operate in the intangible world and any steps that we can take to turn the intangible into a tangible item makes it very much easier for the client to say yes to our offer. It also makes it easier for them to judge value. After all we expect them to pay for our service and we want them to focus on value not just price. In addition it offers a natural opportunity to ask for referrals - who else apart from your client would value such an intensive review service?
An agenda-driven financial review also helps the focus to move away from what after all is pretty difficult for the adviser to control - performance of the underlying investment funds. Instead we can concentrate on all the planning issues that are important and help to ensure that our clients remain on track to achieve their goals and objectives.