Integrated Financial Services: The New Client Preference Model
By Christopher W. Tomecek
The past three years have been difficult ones for professionals and clients in almost every sector of the financial services industry.
The longest, strongest bull investment market in our history left many ill-prepared to deal with the financial and psychological strains of the deep correction that followed.
Now, it appears the nation is returning to a more stable financial environment. At the same time, some interesting, and I believe positive, trends in client preferences are starting to emerge. These changes are driven in large measure by the realization that lifetime financial planning and management is a complex, challenging process. For the high-net-worth individual, it virtually demands professional advice.
One important shift in attitude is that clients now recognize, as perhaps they never did before, that integrated long-term planning and implementation are crucial to effective financial management of their lives and their legacies. They no longer think that segmenting financial dealings among several providers is wise.
Instead, they recognize that such segmentation often results in redundancies and inefficiencies. Further, they realize that segmentation may result in individual decisions that can, when made in an informational vacuum, have a serious negative impact on overall net worth.
Simply put, a plan that optimizes the probability of achieving retirement, educational and philanthropic goals requires that there be someone knowledgeable in a supervisory role.
This “supervisor” monitors progress toward the goals across the continuum of the wealth accumulation, protection and dissemination process. The supervisor also adapts the plan to changing circumstances and emerging opportunities.
Affluent individuals have always placed a high priority on trustworthiness, independence and expertise when selecting their financial service providers. To this triad, they are now adding a preference for having all of their financial concerns serviced by one entity.
They are looking for an expert who can provide a “family office” level of service, integrating all their financial needs into a single comprehensive plan and implementing that plan.