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Raymond James Longevity Planning Resources: Good for Clients, Great for Advisors

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If you’re an advisor whose main value to clients is investment management, you may be in trouble. If you’re one of the 7,500 advisors who affiliate with Raymond James, you’ve got a new lifeline.

For all RJ-affiliated advisors–RIAs, independent contractors or employee-advisors—a new suite of longevity planning tools allows you to provide solutions to aging clients (and their families) on some of the most complicated, important choices that they must make. Those solutions have another benefit to advisors: they’ll help retain clients, perhaps attract new clients through referrals, all while justifying the fees you charge.

Frank McAleer, senior VP of Wealth, Retirement and Portfolio Solutions at Raymond James, puts it bluntly on the fee justification issue. “Fee compression is upon us: that’s the cold, hard truth,” citing the success of Vanguard and Schwab in gathering hundreds of millions of dollars in their robo-advisor platforms over just three to four years.

Frank McAleer, senior VP at Raymond James. Frank McAleer

“Some will say it’s not affecting their business, yet. But when a client inevitably comes to you and asks, ‘I can go to Vanguard and pay 35 basis points, so what are you doing that’s worth more than 35?’ ” McAleer says, “You can point to what we call our longevity planning wheel and say, ‘These are the resources that we’ve vetted out, that we can provide to you on a discounted basis, that we can educate you on, that we can help you plan for.’ That’s a lot different than just managing money. It’s a further rationalization of the value a human advisor can provide.”

The longevity planning wheel McAleer is referring to (see below) matches specific resource providers for what Raymond James categorizes as the four main issues to be addressed in longevity planning.

  1. Financial Planning: Goal planning, wealth accumulation, Social Security and income strategy. The resource: Raymond James’ Goal Planning and Monitoring software
  2. Wellness Planning: Housing, healthcare, caregiving and transportation. The resources: PinnacleCare; BroadSpire Care Management
  3. Risk Management: Long-term care, Medicare and elder financial fraud protection. The resources: HealthPlanOne; EverSafe
  4. Estate Planning: Essential documents, transfer of wealth and end-of-life wishes. Resource: Everplans

The resource providers in each area weren’t chosen willy nilly, and Raymond James and its advisors don’t make money off the services.

Each provider had to undergo the same standard, rigorous 6-12 month Raymond James procurement process, McAleer reports. That means “passing a lot of tests” to satisfy multiple RJ departments, including the compliance, regulatory, safety of information and technology teams. Raymond James looked at its competitors’ offerings in the longevity planning resource space and then set up competitions among providers to find the best services. Those providers needed to be “national in scope” so all of RJ’s affiliated advisors could use them regardless of location, but also needed to be “local in nature.”

One example of a company that passed those tests, McAleer said, is BroadSpire Care Management, which provides home healthcare services to the aged, disabled and chronically ill and meets a common and deeply desired need for older people: “Everybody wants to age in place,” McAleer says. BroadSpire has care managers across the country, he points out, and RJ advisors can contact those local offices on behalf of clients. The company then conducts home care assessments to see if aging in place is an actual option, determines if the client needs to make changes to their homes to do so, and if that isn’t an option, presents the residential facilities in the area the client can use.

McAleer’s Retirement Solutions Group developed the longevity planning offering based on feedback from the 40 RJ financial advisors who comprise Raymond James’ Retirement Solutions Advisory Board. McAleer reports that his group is working on adding additional resources to the offering.

From a client retention, referrals and client family viewpoint, providing these resources can a real differentiator, says McAleer, because “when you start to educate clients about the resources that we’ve partnered with and that we’ve vetted, clients often aren’t aware that these resources exist, and they’re pleasantly surprised.”

One big benefit to advisors and their businesses if they use these resources: you’re being proactive in meeting client needs and addressing their concerns, even if they’re hesitant to bring up those needs themselves. “If you’re the one to bring up these issues to your clients—I don’t want to overstate it—you’ll be the hero,” says McAleer.

— Check out related tech stories on ThinkAdvisor.


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