One-up your client’s other advisor

By Bryce Sanders | May 21, 2014 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

Prospects are often reluctant to tell you how many accounts they have, and where. They’re interested in doing business, but want to maintain multiple relationships.

Read: How to build a business model

You want to manage all their assets; and while that’s unlikely, there are steps you can take to maximize what they invest with you.

#1. Combined reporting

It’s likely you can produce reports covering all holdings. Intuitively, the client sees the value of a big picture perspective.

Approach: “I can provide you with a report that brings all your accounts together on one page. You can see how everything fits together. Have you ever seen this before?”

#2. Financial planning

Are your prospects’ goals realistic? Have they planned for their children’s weddings and educations? What’s the likelihood of achieving those goals with their current investment strategies?

Approach: “Your goal is to retire in 10 years. You have an income level in mind, and your investments will be key to meeting it. Are you confident you’ll achieve your goal? Would it help to know the likelihood now?”

#3. Concentration risk

Concentrated positions can be dangerous. Clients may think they’re diversified because they own several mutual funds. But what if the top-five holdings of each fund are the same?

Approach: “Some clients are unaware they hold concentrated positions. If we know your outside mutual fund holdings we can look at their top positions and determine if you’re overweight on some popular stocks.”

#4. Understanding fees

Mutual funds have built-in fees that some investors aren’t completely aware of. CRM II will change that, but you can make enhanced disclosure a competitive advantage.

Read: CSA issues FAQ on CRM II

Approach: “If we work together you need to know how we make money. I’ll explain what you’re paying in direct and indirect fees. It’s all out there but you need to know where to look. You mentioned you own mutual funds already. Do you know what you’re paying now?”

#5. Know your client

For legal reasons, financial institutions need to know a lot about people opening accounts. And of course you need to understand your clients to give good advice.

Approach 1: “Yes, we ask a lot of questions. After 9/11 it’s gotten even tougher. You and I are law-abiding people, but to be effective the laws must apply to everyone.”

Approach 2: “We need to know about our customers to give suitable advice. That’s why we ask questions.”

Approaches to Position Yourself as the Alternative

#1. Scheduled portfolio reviews

Clients want accountability; portfolio reviews are similar to report cards.

Approach: “In volatile markets we try to review client holdings at least quarterly. When was the last time you had a portfolio review?”

Read: How to improve portfolio reviews

#2. What They Don’t Own

You focus on keeping clients up to date on stocks they own. If a client has accounts elsewhere and isn’t sharing information, comment on stocks you feel should have been sold.

Approach: “Fortunately there aren’t any (industry) stocks in your account. That sector’s been deteriorating for months, so our strategists underweight it in model portfolios. Today’s news about (company) confirms those problems aren’t going away anytime soon.”

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on