As many firms are retooling and refocusing to meet the new requirements of CRM2, one company is taking that a step further through the redevelopment of its website and advisor planning tools.
Two key initiatives at GP Wealth are financial planning and the recruiting program, with an emphasis on helping advisors with succession planning.
“We’re actually quite amazed, with the active files we’re working on now,” says George Aguiar, president and CEO of GP Wealth Management. “There are advisors who have significant practices who have made no significant attempt to formally develop a succession plan – leaving themselves exposed.”
While many of them have thought about, continues Aguiar, “they just haven’t put pen to paper and formalized the process.”
It is that reality – coupled with the advent of the CRM2 changes – that spurred GP Wealth to introduce a consistent financial planning offer.
“We launched a financial planning application firm-wide, which significantly enhances the practice management offering that we have for advisors. And that would be in connection with the CRM2 transitions that are coming in.”
With CRM2, there’s going to be several aspects of it that will be delivered to clients, such as transparency of all costs and fees, and performance reporting.
“It’s our view that for those transparent aspects that are coming in to the reporting side, we run the risk that clients may look at that and say, ‘what am I getting for what I am paying?’” says Aguiar. “And so what we’ve been doing is re-tooling our advisors to get them focused in on providing a formal, written financial plan and updating that regularly with clients. That for us would what we could call demonstrating a value proposition for clients.
“We’re trying to get our advisors to incorporate financial plans for each and everyone one of their clients.”
GP Wealth Management currently has 48 advisors with over a billion dollars in assets under management.
“We’re trying to reach into the core of what they do; so it isn’t just product recommendations, but the basis of the relationship is around the financial plan,” says Aguiar.
Launching a firm-wide financial planning application is just the first step, though, as comparatively, many financial advisors are left to their own devices to find an application that they can use, says Aguiar.
“We felt that it was important for us to centralize that and make it available to everybody, so each client will receive a financial plan is consistent,” he says, “so everyone can share the same experience.”
That initiate was launched on May 1, which was the easy part, says Aguiar.
“The challenge is training advisors and getting them to incorporate it into their daily practice,” says Aguiar. “We have quite a few certified financial planners in our firm; those are our flag-wavers, the advisors who are not currently using the financial plan but reach out for mentoring and support, to help them with these financial plans.
“For them, some advisors are looking at it and saying, ‘what I’m doing is working – why do I need to make a change?’” continues Aguiar. “And what we’re saying is, ‘Prepare yourself – because we don’t know what the future will hold.’”
But Aguiar thinks clients will call to question what they’re paying for, and what they are getting as a result of that qualified advice.
“This is just another tool in their toolbox to be able to support their clients with a value proposition,” he says.
Part of this proactive initiative has included the promotion of the firm, through a recruiting campaign.
“Wealth Professional was instrumental in our recruiting program,” says Aguiar. “What we did was we developed a new website, and then through digital marketing; we’ve been reaching out to advisors, and have received an enormous amount of hits on our website as a result of this.”
The focus of the campaign was to capture the attention of advisors as it relates to succession planning.
“Across the industry, there are an increasing number of financial advisors that are reaching an age where they need to contemplate the transition to retirement,” says Aguiar. “So as part of this new website, we developed a downloadable e-book, and we’ve received a robust interest in the succession planning for advisors e-book.”
And that book is in connection with GP Wealth’s overall recruiting campaign with advisors who are looking at joining the firm, and becoming involved in a guaranteed succession planning program.