Welcome to Financial Advisor IQ

Summer Strategies: Stay in Touch with Vacationing Clients

By Thomas Coyle June 23, 2017

This is the second of a two-part series on financial advisors’ ideas for making the most, in work terms, of the summer season. Read part one here.

With Memorial Day behind us and July Fourth fast approaching, it’s a good time to remember summer doesn’t have to be a snooze for financial advisors.

After all, every season brings specific tasks to the desks of financial advisors.

Fall can be tax-planning time, say advisors. Winter brings the chance to seize on clients’ New Year’s resolutions — spending less or revisiting estate plans — or to-do items left dangling the year before. And after the rush of tax-filing season, subsequent months can be spent helping clients “spring clean” financial paperwork and scrutinize balance sheets for opportunities and warning signs alike.

And summertime, often cast as a slack period, should be no different, FAs tell this publication.

Rather than “dashing away” for extended holidays between truncated work weeks this summer, Javier Rivero of Dynasty Financial Partners recommends doing “the complete opposite.” In his view, summer is the perfect time to “focus on growth” while honing a “mindset of consistency.”

In addition to asking clients to let him know when and where they’re going on vacation, Michael Rose of Miami-based Rose Capital provides summer tips for his clients. Among other things, he recommends they shore up cybersecurity and guard against identity theft.

“We see more attempted fraud on and around holidays than any other time of the year,” says Rose. So he urges clients to use “banking apps and alerts to make sure they’re aware of all card and financial activity when you’re out of your normal routine.”

Rose, who manages over $200 million, also recommends clients “back up everything” in terms of vital documentation before they leave on summer jaunts using a digital-storage technology like Dropbox, Mozy or Alphabet’s Google Drive.

In fact, Rose is a year-round proponent of technology. His firm has an own-brand mobile-device app for communicating with clients, and recently started using a mobile-friendly scheduling tool called TimeTrade.

Miguel Sosa

“Our practice is designed to work with clients where they are, not where we are,” says Rose.

Even real estate transactions can have a summer flavor, and often their main ingredient is urgency, says Rose. This stems from clients wanting to act fast to secure a property they may have come across in their travels.

In such cases, Rose will suggest private mortgages or establishing an equity line of credit against assets. The advantages? “No underwriting, quick close, lower interest rates,” says Rose.

For Miguel Sosa of Premia Global Advisors in Coral Gables, Fla., “summer” is virtually year-round. That’s because a lot of his clients live below the equator and take their hot-weather holidays in the dead of our winters.

“It’s normal for clients to travel up here in January and February on vacation,” says Sosa, referring to his South American clients. When they do — and when his Northern Hemisphere clients are in town, on vacation and in the mood for it — he’ll suggest they stop in for a chat.

“This allows me to engage them in a conversation that’s removed from the portfolio management aspect,” says Sosa. “Often it’s calmer, longer-term, more meditative and more about planning.

Adds Sosa: “It takes us away from how small caps are doing.”

That said, Sosa, who manages around $200 million, only engages vacationing clients when and if clients feel like it. “You have to be sensitive to the fact they’re on personal time,” he says.

Beyond the value in terms of goal setting and relationship building that comes from having philosophical chats with clients when they’re away from work, vacations can help clients understand how much noise infiltrates their financial lives.

Client vacations “can be a blessing in disguise” for their advisors because it helps clients understand how little their unplugging hurts their finances.

“There’s always something going on, and there are always ways to give data a positive or a negative interpretation,” says Sosa. “It’s Donald Trump today, the Shiller PE Ratio tomorrow, and The Fed the day after. It never ends.”

But “behind all the information and commentary and talking heads,” summer vacations can give FAs time to help their clients understand that “if you focus on the fundamentals things will be OK,” says Sosa. “Not as bad or as rosy as you think, but OK.”