More and more financial advisors are forging relationships with centres of influence (COIs) such as accountants and lawyers to offer a comprehensive wealth-management experience for clients and their families.
“Being able to work alongside other tax and legal professionals is a must in terms of being able to successfully work with high net-worth and ultra high net-worth families,” says David Sung, president of Nicola Wealth Management in Vancouver.
The challenge, however, can be in adapting your individual practice to meet the needs of a collective or team of advisors..
Here are three tips for working with other professionals:
1. Hold face-to-face meetings
Some advisors say they work “jointly” or “collaboratively” with other advisors, Sung says. But these terms do not specify exactly how the advisor communicates with clients and COIs.
Email is an efficient daily communication tool, Sung adds, but it cannot substitute the value and the immediacy of getting to know other advisors in person — especially when you’re discussing complex financial strategies.
Participating in face-to-face meetings with other advisors and your client ensures that everybody is on the same page.
2. Check your ego at the door
Don’t assume that you are the “point person,” Sung says.
“The main influence on a client’s financial decision is going to be the person they’ve worked with the longest, and who’s earned their trust,” Sung says. “And that’s not necessarily the financial advisor.”
The tax or legal professional may have a more intimate understand of your client’s situation, so he or she may be the one to play “quarterback” on the team.
By taking a subordinate role when appropriate, you’ll be more open to fill any gaps in knowledge and provide a more well-rounded perspective when serving your client’s needs. A willingness to learn is vital.
3. Keep the lines of communication open
Share information freely to build trust with the other advisors. Trust encourages a stronger professional and cooperative working environment, Sung says.
Encourage dialogue among your peers so that you can educate and assist each other in creating solutions for your mutual client.
“When you have good, smart, collaborative people working together and bringing all of their expertise together to develop a strategy for a client,” Sung says, “that synergy can make for a pretty fantastic experience.”