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Adviser Workshop: How to explain the merits of financial planning to new clients

Paul Stocks and Tony Byrne explain how they extol the virtues of advice when new clients arrive at their door

Adviser Workshop: How to explain the merits of financial planning to new clients

Paul Stocks (pictured above) and Tony Byrne explain how they extol the virtues of advice when new clients arrive at their door.

Paul Stocks

Director, Dobson & Hodge

In the initial meeting, I say to new clients: ‘We are weighing you up and you have to weigh us up.’ The people we want to deal with are the people we will add value to.

Be available

The process is self-selecting because they are coming to us for advice. Most meetings are about demonstrating what we charge and the value that brings. That value is hard to quantify. But we display our value by telling clients they can ring us if issues crop up, and we can help work through them. Our service is not only limited to seeing clients at their review meeting.

There are three strands to the review meeting: what we have been doing, what the regulator and politicians have been up to and what has changed in their world. We pull all three together and see what, if anything, needs addressing.

Stay focused

We do not get drawn into discussing future performance because we have no idea what it will be. If you focus on the client’s needs, aims and objectives, you are pulling them along the path of financial planning without them really understanding that is what you are doing.

At the start of the discussion we do a fact-find, which for me is just a regulatory exercise to tick boxes. Then you want to build up a picture of what the client is trying to achieve, what their success measures will be and what failure looks like for them.

Top tip: Focus on client goals rather than discussions about future performance.

Tony Byrne

Managing director, Wealth & Tax Management

If the client has come out of the blue, from adviser directory Unbiased or somewhere, there is a lot of convincing to do.

Cashflow is key

We try not to get too technical with new clients. We find out what their goals are and what they want first. Usually it involves managing some money and it is our job to convince them why they should use us. We use cashflow planning as a tool which helps. I do not see how you can call yourself a financial planner without using lifetime cashflow planning.

Clients will receive a fact-find and information on our fees beforehand, so everything is transparent from the start. We say the first meeting is at our expense; we never say it is free. If you say it is at your expense, clients will realise there is a value to it. They are also more willing to complete the questionnaire as they see it as returning a favour.

Explain what you do

Financial advisers do not get the best press. When you use the terms financial adviser or financial planner, people tend to tar you with the same brush. We prefer to describe ourselves as wealth managers because that is what we are. We do financial planning but essentially we are managing clients’ wealth. It is more palatable to describe yourself as a wealth manager.

Clients want leadership in the relationship and creativity from us. That is what we tell them we are offering.

Top tip: Find out what clients’ goals are and tell them how you can help.

What Twitter thinks

Phil Billingham

Director, Perceptive Planning

We talk about scenario planning with new clients and [behavioural economics concepts such as the] ‘controlling brain’.

Alistair Cunningham

Director, Wingate Financial Planning

Explain what it is. This answers the ‘why?’ of many financial decisions.

Colin Low

Managing director, Kingsfleet Wealth

Generally, that job is done for us by the solicitor or accountant who is referring to us. We rarely have anyone come to us unprepared.

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