At this year’s Advisor Summit currently underway in Grapevine, Texas, Envestnet introduced its Essential Advisor Certification Program designed to help advisors guide clients through important investment decisions during their lifetimes. Envestnet also presented its first annual Essential Advisor Awards to three advisors who exemplify that role.
“In our view the essential advisor for today and in the future will be one who leverages the best technology to deliver the desired level of personal attention to each client, big or small, as they continue to scale their practices,” said Envestnet President Bill Crager.
He co-wrote the book “The Essential Advisor: Building Value in the Investor-Advisor Relationship“ with former Managing Director Jay Hummel, explaining how advisors can thrive during these times when advances in technology are accelerating and client demands are changing.
The first recipients of the Essential Advisor awards represent a somewhat diverse group of advisors in terms of their individual practices.
Bill Schiffman, president of Schiffman | Grow & Co., is a CPA who co-founded the firm in 1985 and helped it add investing services in 2000, due to client demand, ultimately offering its "Holistic Advantage."
Ninety-five percent of the firm’s investment clients are also its tax clients, providing “a tremendous amount of touch,” said Schiffman. Most of its clients have been with the firm for over two decades. They’re corporate executives, small-business owners and tenured academics.
“Now they want to retire. But what are they going to do when the thrill is gone?” asks Schiffman. “Without passion and purpose they will not have a successful retirement.... Part of my differentiation is talking with folks about things that are difficult, personal. For many of our clients I try to talk them out of retirement."
“Bill taps into a wide array of credentials to serve as a single expert resource, unifying client needs across tax planning, investing and business consulting,” according to the Envestnet statement about the award winners.
Mehul Mistry, a senior advisor at Secure Planning Strategies, is an expert at assisting families with special-needs children, helping them create the unique estate and financial plans that such families require.
He recalled that at the beginning of his financial career he never asked "Do you have anyone in your family with special needs?"
“Now I ask," he says; "you gain more insight."
Mistry said, "Sometimes you have difficult conversations, ask difficult questions, but they’re necessary.” He’s been a financial planner for almost 18 years.
Mistry also specializes in multigenerational financial planning and helps second and third generations of families ensure that younger family members practice the principles of sound financial planning, according to the Envestnet announcement.
The third essential advisor award recipient is Kyle Imhof, director of technology at Clintsman Financial Planning. He helped transform the firm from one where most processes were heavily manual to an almost 100% digital firm. The transformation added capacity to operations and allowed advisors at the firm to spend more time with clients, eventually transforming the practice into a holistic advisory firm, said Imhof.
“We have to be able to provide help when stuff happens," said Imhof. “The client wants to know are you listening and able to provide what they need at this time, not necessarily asset allocation.”
Imhof oversaw implementation of the Tamarac Advisor Xi suite at his firm and is pleased how that provided him and his colleagues “the ability to deliver prudent, timely advice to clients in the most hectic of times due to the accessible information the suite provides,” according to the Envestnet announcement.
--- Check out more Envestnet Advisor Summit coverage, including the SMA Manager of the Year winners.