How To Keep Your Practice Client-Centric
Source: FA-IQ, May. 4, 2018
GARRETT KEYES, REPORTER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hello. My name’s Garrett Keyes. I’m a reporter for Financial Advisor IQ, and I’m here today with Rick Buoncore of MAI Capital Management. Rick, would you be able to tell me how you maintain a holistic approach to wealth management?
RICK BUONCORE, MANAGING PARTNER, MAI CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Sure. Garrett, one of the things that we were founded on is really having a client-centric approach. And one of the things that everyone in our firm believes is your number one thing is to take care of your client. And we view that as a very big responsibility. So we look at everything that affects a client, from their risk and liability -- so for example, do they have the right trust documents? Do they have the right structure in place? Do they have the right protections? Is the umbrella policy enough? Do their kids, if they’re older than 18 years old, do they have the right durable powers of attorney for health care and things like that?
And then we address their needs and making sure that their assets are allocated appropriately to meet those needs. So it’s more than just investing money or doing their taxes. It’s looking at their whole financial picture. I often refer to it as being their financial doctor, giving them a regular assessment of their financial health and making sure that if it’s retirement that’s their concern, that they have enough assets to get through retirement. If it’s estate taxes that are kind of growing and making sure they can mitigate the impact of estate taxes on their distribution to their heirs. So whatever is important to the client is what we focus on. But it’s looking at it in a total picture, not just from one aspect.
GARRETT KEYES: And how do you go about making sure you’re looking at it as a total picture when the business is growing, and you’re gaining more clients? How does that happen?
RICK BUONCORE: It’s a great thing. So I think the first thing that I think distinguishes us a little bit is as a CEO or managing partner of our company, I still have clients. And I think it’s really important to deal with clients, to understand what their needs are, what they’re asking us for, what their services that we are providing that they may need. So being live every day with clients keeps me very, very current.
But more importantly we look at metrics. We look at how many clients a person’s serving, an advisor group is serving. We try to measure that and make sure that no one gets overwhelmed. We’re using technology to the best we can. We’re going to do more and more of that, making sure we get the right touches, the right pieces. We’re doing surveys to make sure clients are telling us what we’re not doing and making sure we can deliver that.
And last but not least, we’re sort of looking at the total picture of clients and saying, what else should we be doing, because from an industry viewpoint, what we’re seeing is clients are expecting us to do more and more, and they’re not necessarily wanting to pay more for it. So we have to use technology as best we can to make sure we’re providing those services that are most important to them.
GARRETT KEYES: Just in terms of providing a holistic approach, what do you think advisors who aren’t doing that are missing out on?
RICK BUONCORE: Well, I think one of the most confusing terms in our industry is "wealth management." I think people use that term in a variety of descriptions. But someone managing money thinks they’re doing wealth management. Someone doing taxes thinks they’re doing wealth management. Someone offering someone an insurance policy believes they’re doing wealth management.
I believe wealth management is much broader, deeper, and rich in terms of the services that you provide. And again, it goes back to that fiduciary rule. As a fiduciary and someone who has to have their client’s best interests involved, it’s how do you protect the client and make sure that their assets are not only growing and doing what they want from a growth point of view, but also in a protected point of view so you’re matching their liability risk and taking care of that as well.
And I think whether you do taxes or pay bills or all that, that’s all great. But you need to have this holistic approach to clients and making sure that you’re delivering on that and that, at the end of the day, that their goals are going to be achieved.
GARRETT KEYES: Great. Thank you for speaking with me today.
RICK BUONCORE: It was a great pleasure. Thanks for having us.