January 23, 2012

4 Steps to Conducting Client Portfolio Reviews

It's portfolio review time once again! In this post, I will share how I am approaching this task.

Step One: Determine the Frequency
The first step is to create a frequency for each client review. For example, some may want to do this quarterly and others only twice a year. I have observed that a client’s wealth does not necessarily determine the frequency. At times, a larger client may only wish to review semi-annually while a smaller client prefers quarterly. Therefore, I have a conversation with each client to establish their desired review frequency. Once that was completed, I had to create a system to track it. 

Step Two: Track It!
I create a custom field in ACT where I can check one of the following boxes: Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. Moreover, depending on the client and where they live, I can also check: In Person, Online, and/or Email. After this is complete, the next step is to create the information you plan to discuss at each review. 

Step Three: Determine What Information Is Needed
Some items are common to all clients and others are unique. For example, I use "FRED," an add-in for Excel from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It contains a plethora of data, mostly from the U.S., but also from other countries. Using this tool, I created a global macroeconomic PowerPoint slideshow which I will show to each client. With this, I can explain how I view the world, which explains why we're positioned as we are.

The next item I create is a snapshot of each client’s portfolio using a tool from Morningstar. I will also include a Holdings Report with details on each of the client’s holdings. 

The third item is a Fiduciary Scorecard report. This report is derived from Morningstar data which I export to Excel. Then, Excel reads the data and automatically provides a score for each fund and ETF. 

Finally, and this is primarily for my larger clients, I will use a 2011 graph for each fund they hold. If the fund was purchased in 2011, then I will also place a mark on the date of purchase so they can see how the fund has reacted since it was acquired. I found this idea, which I originally had in early December, to to be extremely useful. I came up with this approach because  I decided that I wanted to evaluate my investment decisions,  to see how a fund performed after I sold and after I bought it. 

Step Four: Packaging
In the past, I used a binder to contain each review. Then I thought, "What does a client do with the 'bound' report after he reads it?" Now, I simply print out each section, paperclip them, and place them in a manila folder with their name and review date. Then, they can simply file it at home, in succession, so if they ever need to reflect back on a previous report, they can simply pull that file. 

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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