“This is one of the most monumental pieces of legislation in our lifetime…bigger than the healthcare reform act,” says Henry Smith, Partner of Smith & Downey about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new fiduciary rule. And regardless of the fate of the DOL Rule, the industry has initiated a massive shift to a planning-led, fiduciary model that’s sure to affect the way you conduct your business. But with change comes opportunity. And seizing that opportunity means providing a seamless, engaging client experience, while ensuring your firm is compliant.
While the Rule has yet to take effect, there are several ways to show that you’re part of a forward-thinking firm willing to invest in your clients like they’ve invested in you. Below are a few ways you can create a top-notch client experience and ensure your business is ahead of the curve when it comes to serving clients in a post-DOL Rule world.
Streamline the Onboarding Process
Increasing transparency is central to the Rule. And being transparent with your clients during the onboarding process, and over the course of the entire wealth planning lifecycle, helps your clients gain insight into the services you provide.
Onboarding your clients using technology allows you to easily aggregate and prioritize their account information and lets you spend more time talking about what really matters to them. It also gives your clients the ability to update basic facts and financial information on their own time through their client website, which then updates automatically.
Diversify Your Planning Options
In a post-DOL Rule world, it’s more important than ever to meet your clients’ specific planning needs, whether basic or complex. That means providing a greater level of detail when it’s necessary, or simply helping your clients see a straightforward path to achieving their financial goals. Access to tools that allow you to ensure the advice you’re giving is appropriate for all different types of clients, makes all the difference.
Using the right technology helps ensure your client’s information is accurately reflected in the financial plans you create for them. It’ll also allow you to scale and customize plans based on the type of client you’re meeting, and with the amount of detail they expect, and afford you the opportunity to quickly produce plans for those “impromptu” meetings.
Make Meetings More Versatile
Whether your client has an immediate issue or just wants to check-in regarding his or her financial status, you should be able to provide an array of meeting options to accommodate them. There’s clearly been a shift in the way we communicate with one another with the rapid advancement of technology. Now, your clients expect you to be readily accessible and available (at least in some form) on-demand.
Virtual meetings provide a flexible option for clients who are unable to make it to your office and allows you to share financial plans and information via screen-share. When clients do come to the office for a meeting, you should be able to show them different financial scenarios on the fly using their most up-to-date financial information. Both of these options show your clients that you’re committed to the relationship and willing to go above and beyond to help them meet their financial goals.
Addressing the imminent compliance requirements that come with the DOL Rule may be your first and foremost priority, but don’t let that hinder efforts to improve the experience you provide clients. Instead, embrace the challenge by investing in fiduciary-focused technology to show clients and prospects you’re not only willing to adapt to change, but also committed to taking a progressive and client-first approach to staying on pace with new trends in the financial services industry.
To learn more about how advisors and firms are dealing with the new DOL Rule and the general industry shift toward a fiduciary standard, download this free research whitepaper.