This column gives you an inside look at an advisor’s scheduling process, and provides tips on how to better manage your practice.
Heather Holjevac, CFP, CDFA and EPC
Senior wealth advisor at TriDelta Financial in Oakville, Ontario
Number of households: 100
Client type:Women between the ages of 50 and 60, who make $100,000 on average, and retirees between the ages of 60 and 75, who withdraw about $75,000 per year in income. Her niche is widows, divorcées and caregivers.
Client communication: She connects about two times per year, and emails and calls regularly. She also sends quarterly e-newsletters with personalized investment updates.
Secret to success: Holjevac doesn’t analyze or pick stocks since another team at her firm handles that task. She also connects people with tax and insurance experts. This way, she can dedicate more time to maintaining client relationships.
Over the last five years, Holjevac’s focused on serving women who are nearing or in retirement. These clients fear running out of money, especially since women tend to outlive men. They also worry about health risks and the cost of long-term care.
“There’s a lot of grey divorce occurring, and more [clients] are becoming caregivers to parents. So there are many women in their late 50s who feel overwhelmed when managing their assets.”
Often, prospects are busy dealing with complicated divorce proceedings or the death of a parent, for instance. So it takes longer to build relationships; usually three to six months.
During that time, she sets up regular meetings and reminders through her CRM system. With all new clients, she books an initial meeting, follow-up call or appointment, and final meeting. She then books two reviews per year, though not during the summer months since clients are usually on vacation.
She books between six and 10 meetings per week, preferably between Tuesday and Thursday. That leaves Mondays and Fridays free to deal with paperwork, client requests and any emergencies.
Holjevac’s compliance burden is relatively light since she doesn’t analyze or pick stocks. She primarily handles account-opening documents, and has clients sign investment management agreements that lay out her firm’s policies. A separate team handles portfolio construction, stock analysis and trading, and all related documents.
Still, she reviews clients’ portfolios once a month to make sure her firm’s portfolio management team is on the right track. If there are problems, such as a client’s portfolio being out of line with her objectives, she notifies that team immediately.
When discussing income and return expectations, Holjevac aims to create balanced portfolios that offer returns of between 5% and 7%, on average. However, she focuses on client’s top goals and desired returns, and has them outline their preferred allocations. Outside of portfolio reviews, she’ll inform clients of any adjustments based on market activity or product changes.
What if: You get an influx of prospects?
Whether dealing with one prospect or several, Holjevac follows steps to establish relationships. This involves week-by-week plans that she shares with clients.
These map out when discovery and follow-up meetings are scheduled, including deadlines for paperwork. The first meeting is often set up within two weeks of connecting with a prospect.
By creating the plans, she maintains her service level and can still take on special requests, including home visits. Staying organized is crucial, she says, since “you don’t want to defer meetings at the beginning of client relationships. You really need to measure the immediacy of their needs and work with their schedules.”
She’s willing to meet in the evening, for example, and on weekends if required. She’ll also call or use Skype. That said, “You don’t want to look too free either. People will expect you to be busy with appointments,” and they like to see dedication to existing clients.