Over the years, the term ‘financial planning quarterback’ has become a bit clichéd, but with the new Department of Labor fiduciary regulations, not to mention clients’ rising need for comprehensive financial planning, I think stepping into the quarterback role is more relevant than ever.
Being a team quarterback can help you remain a trusted and reassuring presence for your clients. Consider the value that advisors provide: you are the central point for clients’ financial planning picture; you help identify, plan, execute, and coordinate financial decisions; you keep other tax and legal professionals informed. These activities help demonstrate your value, support asset retention, and can even help build intergenerational wealth management.
Manage the Team
One of the most important roles an advisor can play is to coordinate with the other professionals who are part of each client’s financial team. For example, a client may have engaged an attorney to help navigate estate planning, business planning, or other legal needs and a tax advisor to help with tax planning. Who but you is most qualified to ensure that your client’s goals are clearly communicated among these parties?
For example, how often has a client come to you with an estate plan that includes an unfunded trust? Or have you recently learned that a client hasn’t reviewed her beneficiary designations to ensure that they line up with her estate plan? Perhaps one of the worst things that can happen is to discover that a surviving spouse needs help dealing with unexpected tax consequences or transfers to the wrong individuals that resulted from a poorly executed financial plan. Missteps like these can lead to unwanted administration, tax, or legal costs.
By becoming more familiar with the full scope of your clients’ planning and serving as the quarterback of the team, you can help ensure that issues such as these are addressed before they lead to unintended consequences.
Build the Relationship
Relationship building is twofold. First, there are the relationships you build with other professionals working in a client’s circle of experts, such as tax and legal advisors. When it comes to these individuals, you can differentiate yourself and gain their trust by demonstrating your knowledge of the client’s full personal and financial picture, leading the conversation in various planning considerations, and ensuring that details are finalized and followed up on. Showing off your superior planning skills and your interest in ensuring that your client’s plan is in tip-top shape are great ways to increase your referral base.