2020 has been an unpredictable year. The global impact of COVID-19 has left its footprint everywhere, including on the markets, your practice, and your clients. We took action to compile a playbook to help you navigate what’s happening. “The Advisor’s Playbook For Leading Clients Forward,” details how we believe the industry will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and actions you can take to position yourself as an essential advisor and trusted partner:
- Notable trends based on Envestnet data.
- Key actions you can take to differentiate yourself and better serve your clients.
- How you can build a more sustainable practice and help more clients achieve financial wellness.
As you evaluate your next steps, we’d like to offer continued guidance that focuses on why you may want to take a closer look at the righthand side of your clients’ balance sheets in light of the current situation.
1. Offer personalized advice that encompasses credit.
Over 70 percent of wealth management clients say personalized advice is the deciding factor in choosing to stay with their advisor.1 This type of service requires proactively reaching out to your clients, demonstrating empathy, listening to their concerns, and finding unique ways to show that you’re focused on their journey, priorities, and values.
For some clients, this may mean offering options related to credit. Thirty-five percent of respondents to a CFP Board survey indicated liquidity as a top concern during the pandemic.2 Further, 83 percent of clients expect credit management, but only three percent of advisors meet their needs.3 Now is the ideal time to proactively open communication channels and consider expanding your financial planning services to include credit, offering customized financing solutions to help your clients better manage their credit and meet their liquidity needs.
2. Use credit to help clients weather the pandemic.
Nearly two-thirds of advisors describe the general stress level of their clients as high or very high.2 And, liquidity isn’t the only thing they’re concerned with during the pandemic. Loss of jobs, market volatility, and economic uncertainty have created panic in some households and have led to additional concerns related to protecting assets and reduced income.2 Your clients and prospects may be in need of swift attention. Beyond offering advanced scenario planning and risk tools, being a “source of funds” may be just what your clients need to see them through the crisis and manage the challenges they’re facing.
3. Start financial planning conversations with credit.
Most Americans think their financial planning needs improvement.4 And, by frequently contacting your clients, you can increase their confidence in their financial plans. Discussions about credit are often welcome – especially when you can demonstrate an immediate cost-savings. As a result, your clients may be more willing to dive deeper into their finances, which can lead to opportunities for addressing many other financial needs.
Expanding your practice to include credit has many benefits for both you and your clients. For your clients, total balance sheet management of both assets and liabilities can build their net worth and help them achieve their goals. With ongoing uncertainty, offering credit can enable you to build a more sustainable business model that can offer differentiation to both attract and retain clients. Capturing clients early in the relationship, when credit needs are greater and investing years are yet to come, can also establish a younger client base that can grow with your practice.
While COVID-19 has created stress and uncertainty in so many ways, don’t let it distract you from servicing your clients and focusing on the future. The Envestnet Credit Exchange, powered by Advisor Credit Exchange (ACE) and available through the sponsor and advisor portals on the Envestnet platform, generates a broad range of real-time, pre-qualified credit opportunities through a select network of lenders. With support from regional lending specialists to help you get started, you can leverage the Credit Exchange to present pre-qualified loan proposals to your clients – quickly, at competitive rates, and with a high degree of confidence in their approval. Contact your Envestnet relationship manager for a demonstration or to learn more.
- “How Can Advisors Better Communicate With Clients?,” YCharts, last modified on December 2019,
- “Pulse Survey: The Impact of COVID-19 On CFP Professionals And Their Clients,” CFP Board, last modified on April 21, 2020, https://www.cfp.net/-/media/files/cfp-board/knowledge/reports-and-research/certificant-surveys/2020-04-cfp-professionals-pulse-survey-report.pdf.
- “Wealthy Investor Series: Defining Wealth Management,” Spectrem Group, last modified in August 2019, https://spectrem.com/Content_Product/-defining-wealth-management.
- “2020 Planning & Progress Study: Americans’ Financial Response to COVID-19,” Northwestern Mutual, last modified on June 9, 2020, https://news.northwesternmutual.com/planning-and-progress-2020.
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.