Financial planning as a point of differentiation

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With the rise of passive investing and algorithm-based advice, investment management is slowly becoming commoditized. As a result, we are seeing more firms place a larger emphasis on wealth management to serve the complex planning needs of HNW clients. Many firms are offering deeper, more specialized service teams. Industry trends show independent RIAs can win market share by offering “softer” services with engaging experiences.

An advisor’s approach to financial planning could be the primary reason certain investors choose one firm over another. By focusing on a collaborative financial planning process with clients, advisors can pinpoint the specific goals and needs of clients leading to stronger relationships and ultimately helping address the client’s most important issues. Advisors who position themselves this way using financial planning and a broader wealth management picture for their clients hold a more stable and long-term advantage over advisors who choose to position their value based on investment performance alone.

The main challenge is scalability. Some estimates put the time required to build a complete financial plan at 20 hours. Here’s the good news: recent advances in financial technology from firms like Black Diamond’s Platform Partner, Advizr, have created opportunities for advisors to provide comprehensive planning services to clients in a fraction of the time it required initially.

Launched in 2013, Advizr sought to provide a solution to time-strapped advisors by focusing on two aspects of the financial planning process:

Point #1 – Collaboration

In the past, planning was largely a back-office function for most firms.  By encouraging client involvement from the beginning of the planning process, advisors reposition it as a front-office activity. When clients are involved, they are much more likely to follow the plan and value its guidance. Presenting dynamic plans in a digital format allows for quick and easy manipulation to illustrate the impact of “on-the-fly” scenario-related questions and gives the investor more confidence.

Point #2 – Client Experience

With traditional planning, advisors and clients can view the service as a tedious process that takes a lot of time and feels like a police interrogation. To alleviate this feeling, advisors can save time by importing data from integrated systems and automating the repetitive, dull steps of the process.

By offering clients comprehensive financial planning services, advisors can better position themselves as ideal options for HNW investors seeking more personal, intimate advice. Advisors are now better equipped to offer valuable advice to more clients in ways that build deeper, long-lasting relationships with tools that give them the power to compete with the larger, more established institutions.

While Black Diamond integrates with most financial planning systems, we’ve developed a partnership with Advizr that allows our advisor clients to view financial plan information from the Portfolio View dashboard and incorporate that content in client presentations and performance reports.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Advizr seamlessly integrates with the Black Diamond Wealth Platform, please visit or call 1-800-727-0605.


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Posted in Uncategorized, Wealth Management and Financial Planning

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