The Investment Management Consultants Association prides itself on the educational rigor of its conferences, such as the current IMCA national conference in Boston, featuring economists and statisticians and academics who take deep dives into sometimes arcane subjects, with attendees happily going along for the ride.
So what to make of the fact that the highest rated speaker at IMCA’s 2013 annual conference was Amy Florian, the CEO of Chicago-based Corgenius? Rather than discussing asset allocation or inverted yield curves, Florian talks about death and dying, about dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you’ve heard Florian speak, you wouldn’t be surprised at her high ratings, even though she speaks directly, sometimes toughly but always with a leavening pinch of humor, about topics that too many of us would prefer to avoid.
Her words and suggestions are valuable to advisors in helping clients and their families deal with emotionally fraught, legally murky and potentially money-draining issues around aging clients. Beyond providing tips on the legal, emotional and intrafamily dynamics of death and dying and dementia, she also lays out how advisors can use their knowledge and insights into those issues to help build their businesses.
Worried about how to attract the next generation of clients? You could do much worse than to demonstrate to your current clients’ children how valuable your services are, how you’re ready to go the extra mile for clients in the most practical of ways by quarterbacking the diagnosis and treatment of dementia in an aging parent. Want to get more referrals? Imagine how the friends and acquaintances of an aging client would feel when they see how you’ve covered every legal and financial base to ensure that said client’s wishes about the end of life are followed. Worried about the rise of the robo-advisors who can provide financial planning at 25 basis points? Then show the value of your advice by supporting clients through the biggest challenges they’ll ever face in life.
The need is great, the opportunities clear. In her presentation Monday at the IMCA annual conference, Florian began by asking attendees if they prepare carefully for a visit from an SEC or FINRA examiner. She asked if attendees plan their vacations in detail. “We prepare for what’s inevitable,” she said, so why don’t we (including clients, of course) prepare for aging and death?
“We’re all terminal,” she said with a smile, though most of us don’t know when we will die, and too many of us prefer not to think of death and dying. Her suggestion: “Help your clients prepare for the inevitable.”