Client engagement and consistent processes are the key to a successful and thriving financial planning business in the post FoFA world says Astute Wealth Advice director, Hans Egger.
Speaking at the launch of the Astute Wealth Advice - Client Engagement Platform, Mr Egger said, “Let’s face it, most people do not find financial planning sexy. It can sometimes be a bewildering and confusing process, leaving clients and prospective clients feeling overwhelmed.
“If we want people to more than just accept that they need a financial plan; if we want them to fully engage with the process on both an initial and ongoing basis, then we need a process and tools which are designed from the client’s perspective. We believe that the Astute Client Engagement Platform fits the bill.”
The Platform, developed by Mr Egger, a financial planner with 14 years’ experience and rolled out with the support of industry marketing specialist and business partner, Michael Topper, is an online program that both engages and educates the client, starting before the client and planner have even met.
“Prospective clients complete a five-‐minute health check and about you questionnaire online, the results of which are delivered to the planner prior to the first meeting,” Mr Egger said. “Needs have already been highlighted, by the prospect themselves, and it’s a much softer first experience than a 20-‐plus page fact find.”
Having already gathered a lot of information via the online tools, the planner is then free to focus on establishing a relationship with the client and engaging them in the process via the Astute Wheel which includes a standardised suite of innovative tools and calculators.
The Astute Wheel visual illustrates the six areas of financial advice which helps planners explain the financial planning process to clients in plain English.
“The Astute Wheel and the suite of tools allow planners to very quickly and very simply explain the power of their financial planning services in a way which is, thanks to the information the planner has received via the online tools, already being tailored to the prospective client’s unique circumstances and needs,” Mr Egger said. “It also offers planners a very effective pricing mechanism.”
More than 100 financial planners across 40 financial planning practices have paid to use a beta version of the Platform since December 2011 and Astute is now in discussions with several licensees to role the Platform out to their planners.
“The feedback we have received to date has been overwhelmingly positive and our insurance calculator is already being coined by industry experts as the best in Australia,” Mr Egger said.
Mr Egger said feedback also indicates that financial planning businesses enjoy the corporatised approach the Platform lends to the client engagement process.
“We believe that employing consistent processes and methodologies, from first contact through to ongoing review, will drive business efficiencies and improve compliance,” Mr Egger said. “Having a clearly articulated value proposition, and a review process which clients understand and value, will help financial planning practices thrive under the FoFA environment.”
The Astute Wealth Advice -‐ Client Engagement Platform (www.astutewheel.com.au) is already affectionately being referred to by users as the “Astute Wheel”.