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The Investment Consulting Process

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1. The Presentation. Your goal at the first meeting is to qualify your prospect and determine if he or she is a candidate for your services. If so, you must establish trust immediately so the prospect will want to proceed to the next step with you.

During this meeting, determine the values and concerns of the prospect. Decide together if you have a basis for working together and, if so, explain the key aspects of your investment strategy and how its implementation will meet the prospects needs and solve his or her financial challenges.

2. The Discovery Meeting. At the second meeting you will define the prospects financial needs, goals and current position, gathering all the information you will need to construct an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that is tailored to your prospects specific needs. The IPS is a detailed document that describes the investors needs and risk tolerance, explains what the investor will receive and when, and defines constructive benchmarks that track progress against the investors life goals, not an index.

3. The Diagnostic Meeting. This meeting is optional and is used only when you are working within a strategic alliance, such as with an attorney or CPA. At this meeting, you will present your diagnostic of the investors current holdings with a summary of your recommended repositioning. Youll need to establish general agreement on this with the prospect and/or strategic partner before presenting the complete IPS at the next meeting.

4. The IPS Meeting. Here you will present the entire IPS. A well-drafted IPS will meet the fiduciary responsibilities between advisor and investor, address prudent investor guidelines, and generally reinforce the client education process.

5. The “If Appropriate” Meeting. At this meeting the prospect will ideally become a client. To prepare for this meeting, have all paperwork completed and ready for signing on the assumption that the client will move ahead. Review and answer any questions regarding the IPS, and ask the client to acknowledge the beginning of the relationship by executing the paperwork.

6. The 45-Day Meeting. The focus of this meeting is to help your client get organized with the new account paperwork youve sent. Show the client how to read the various statements and provide a notebook where they can be filed. After this, quarterly meetings should be scheduled as a matter of course.

7. Quarterly Meetings. At these meetings you will ask about changes to the clients personal or financial situation, review and explain portfolio performance, contrast the actual performance to the IPS expectations, and answer any questions your client may have.

–John J. Bowen Jr.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, June 30, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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