LIMRA International has borrowed from the biological sciences for the theme of its 2001 international annual meeting. Richard A. Wecker, LIMRA president and CEO, likened last year’s announcement of the deciphering of the human genome to cracking the code of the financial genome. While the human genome has not yet been entirely decoded, Wecker says the financial code has been.
In his opening remarks to the conference attendees he listed the “genes” on the financial genome which, if implemented, can help “crack the code” of one’s business. Intertwined in the list is the consumer, who should be the focus of any advisor’s business plan, according to Wecker.
At the top of the financial genome is individualism, which Wecker calls the key to focusing on the consumer. An advisor should understand his customers’ needs and concerns and develop a good relationship with them.
“The key is not necessarily to find more customers for your products, but to find more products for your customers,” he says. He adds that an advisor should “treat each customer as a market of one.”
Second on the financial genome is innovation. In order to achieve success in the future, Wecker says, a company must use innovative means to meet the needs of a changing population. Because the population is aging, financial services companies must think about retirement planning needs, long-term care protection and helping people not to outlive their income. Wecker mentioned creating a cash management plan at birth, which could cover any number of financial needs a person might have in a lifetime, including education, investment needs, long-term care insurance, Medicare supplements and the like, as an innovative approach to meeting the financial needs of the changing population.
Integration is third on the financial genome. Companies that sell multiple products must integrate their customer databases and customer and producer contact efforts, Wecker says.