You can lose a client at any time and, really, for pretty much any reason. But divorce, dementia and above all death are high on the list of unfortunate circumstances that, when they befall your clients, disrupt your operations and rob your firm of assets.
Financial advisors sense this, and industry statistics back the hunch. More than half of widows (55%) ditch their husband’s advisor, and almost all (98%) of next-generation inheritors fire their parents’ advisor, says client-data reporter Blueleaf, citing a study from PwC.
Of course, a measure of client attrition is inevitable. But advisors can prevent some losses by taking action before it’s too late, according to Trust Advisor. If you wait until the money is in motion, you’ll be seen as an “ambulance chaser.” Maybe more important, you won’t have time to persuade new decision-makers to stick around.
The blog recommends identifying and then getting to know “all the players,” well before a transfer takes place. Interviews with family members can help you understand their priorities and give you a sense of family dynamics. And, as Blueleaf suggests in a free e-book, you might even want to put this intelligence on “maps” for later review. You can also enlist your client’s help to determine which relatives should be brought into particular planning discussions.
Follow up with written plans for individual family members, and be as clear as you can about what they can expect from your firm, says Trust Advisor. With your client’s permission, add family members to client-oriented newsletter and e-mail lists, whether they’re paying customers or not.
To turn relatives into actual clients, consider helping younger ones with their first retirement accounts and early-stage financial plans. The blog suggests assigning such tasks to junior advisors as a way to put young family members in contact with potential next-gen leaders at your firm.