The first two articles in our series on questions to ask a financial advisor dealt with advisor qualifications, services provided, compensation, and standard of care. Each of those questions are important, and probably the most asked of prospective clients. Our next two articles will focus on four questions that are just as important, but often overlooked.
Who will be handling the relationship going forward?
While there are still plenty of solo practitioners in the financial planning industry, most are moving towards a team-based approach. The solo practitioner does it all – planning, trading, reviews, scheduling, phone calls, etc. They will be your contact for the relationship going forward. A team-based approach benefits from the skills of a larger staff to help ensure flawless execution of your financial strategy, but it is important that you have a clear point person for your relationship. In some team settings, the advisor that initially laid out the plan may not be the one to follow through with its execution. The plan execution and future relationship management may be handed off to a junior member of the team. While this model may work fine, you should know who you will be working with.
The Odyssey Group uses a team-based approach to best serve the needs of its clients. The advisor you initially work with will continue to lead the relationship into the future and leverage the team for strategy implementation and execution.
Does the advisor have a succession plan?
Also known as the “hit by a bus” scenario, what would happen to your accounts if your advisor were to retire or unexpectedly die or become incapacitated? You don’t want to have to scramble to find a new advisor if something unforeseen occurs. Advisors who care for the wellbeing of their clients will have a clear plan in place, showing that they have performed the due diligence to find a partner or practice that would work well for their existing clients.
The Odyssey Group’s succession plan is built around its team-oriented approach. While none of the advisors plan to retire anytime soon, if one of our advisors were no longer available, another advisor would be able to assume the primarily relationship with the client. This is just one of the reasons we frequently have client meetings with more than one advisor present.
If your current or prospective advisor can’t answer these questions with confidence and to your satisfaction, it is probably time to move on. We’d be happy to discuss our philosophy and how we work with our clients. Please contact us here.