Additional services bring advisors more business

By Kanupriya Vashisht | December 17, 2009 | Last updated on December 17, 2009
2 min read

Advisors must do a better job of making clients aware of ancillary services they can provide – especially tax planning and preparation – either within their own offices or through affiliates, say participants at our 2009 Dollars & Sense roundtable discussion.

James R. Taylor, CLU, Financial Health Management, Toronto, noted 47% of advisors responding they didn’t receive any additional services from an advisor or other professional was an indication of “weakness in making sure information is put in front of clients.”

Cynthia Kett, CA, CGA, RFP, CFP, Stewart & Kett Financial Advisors Inc., Toronto, had a slightly different take. “If I were a client, I’d realize one advisor may not be able to do everything for me,” she says. “And that’s all right. If everybody does what they do well, maybe the client will be better served in the end.”

She also noted the ages of respondents may come into play, as they impact client needs. Older clients need more tax planning, whereas younger people may need debt counselling or other such services.

Bernie Geiss, CFP, CLU, RHU, Cove Financial Planning Ltd., North Vancouver, B.C., says clients who come to him for advice have often done the right kinds of planning, but none of the advisors talk to one another. The result is the client doesn’t get the sense his or her needs are truly covered.

“If the perspective is completely changed, I think these numbers will be dramatically different,” he says. For example, he notes 26% of respondents say they’d like their advisors to provide estate planning service, and 20% report getting those services from another advisor.

Of the services you do not receive from you primary advisor, which do you receive from another professional? (Number of respondents: 1,537).

Service Would Like from Advisor (%) Receive from Another Professional (%)
Portfolio manager commentaries 30 12
Daily, weekly, and/or monthly market information 28 14
Estate planning 26 20
Tax planning 25 24
Trusts, wills and related legal services 20 30
Debt counseling 17 16
Tax filing 14 39
None of the above 47 46

“It would be really helpful if an advisor collaborated with a will or estate lawyer,” he says. “The dynamics of this question would be dramatically changed and that advisor would have his stock raised significantly with the client.”

It’s important to make referrals to COIs quickly, and to work closely with professionals like accountants and tax planners, notes Rob Kelland, CIM, FCSI, Portfolio Manager, Director Wealth Management, ScotiaMcLeod, London, Ont. His firm also limits the number of professionals it collaborates with to make sure work is done efficiently. And, his team makes use of a financial planner for clients with in-house assets greater than $1 million.

The ultimate service to clients, says Taylor, would be to come up with ways to get a small business owner, at the same table with his or her banker, lawyer, accountant and advisor. “This is a challenge we’re facing in a number of different areas,” he says. “If we can find a solution to this I think we can find the Holy Grail.”

Kanupriya Vashisht