The major way Dynamic Planner helps us is the time saving, regarding the client review process. And the look of the reports. Much more professional than what we were producing.
Before, we used our own templates, a one-pager on the valuations and what information we could extract from places on performance. We cribbed it together ourselves. It was time consuming and took us a day at least to produce for a client. Now in Dynamic Planner, producing a review report, it’s probably about half an hour.
Growing clients by 20%
That saved time has allowed me to focus on the Consumer Duty. And it has enabled us to grow our client base, because we can be smarter around existing clients. We’re not a massive business. There are only three advisers, but we have been able to grow our client base by around 20%. Going forward, if we can do that year-on-year, that would be great.
We’re looking forward to transferring all our target market segmentation to Dynamic Planner. Again, it will be time saving and once everything is in Dynamic Planner, it’s in there. It will match with our back office, and with our CIP and CRP.
We have started to produce some recommendation reports in Dynamic Planner, mainly for fund switches and the odd, ad hoc lump sum top-up. Again, the reports are much more professional than what we were producing before, and really quick to produce, half an hour probably for a fund switch. Before, that would have that been maybe a couple of hours of work, or more.
Consumer Duty. Client profiling
We use Dynamic Planner’s risk questionnaires with clients and we’ve started using the ESG and the vulnerability questionnaires as well. Those are all going out to clients, where we can, by email prior to meetings. We have to be careful not to bombard a client, but Dynamic Planner’s questionnaires tick all our Consumer Duty boxes. It’s a lot more thorough. Before, we had just a couple of questions in an internal questionnaire for a client on ESG.
For vulnerability, it’s good to know, because some of the answers to questions you didn’t necessarily know about a client. As a firm, it gives you a chance to explore further. Clients can be embarrassed about telling you about a potential vulnerability, so I think the questionnaire gives them the opportunity, in the comfort of their own homes, to answer it – and not have to face you.
Dynamic Planner – ‘Everything we need’
Dynamic Planner absolutely helps us add value for clients. It makes us look a lot more professional. Our competitors are some of the biggest UK firms and I feel like with Dynamic Planner, even though we’re a small firm, we’ve got the tools to stand out from the crowd.
Before, it was all pitched together from our own resources and didn’t look as professional. It was all there. It was just the paperwork which wasn’t supporting what we had in the team. But it is now.
I would absolutely recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm. It’s one of the best subscriptions we pay each month. I don’t know what else is out there. I’ve never looked. I don’t feel like I need to. Dynamic Planner is giving us everything we need.
We introduced Dynamic Planner’s sustainability questionnaire as soon as it came out, and we began sending it to clients with supporting literature Dynamic Planner had produced, explaining why sustainable investing is important and what the different issues are. I think doing that helps clients have a better understanding.
Checking a client’s sustainability profile is becoming part of our process. And I love the fact that Dynamic Planner no longer calls it risk profiling, but client profiling, because it underlines that it’s all about the customer and their needs and desires, not just money. I think if you get the client’s needs and desires correct at the beginning, then the portfolio placement is easier and better.
Again, I like it because it takes the conversation away from purely money and the return on their investments in the last 12 months. A client can become blasé about that. This is about the client and why their portfolio is constructed the way it is.
Science behind a client’s profile
I have been in financial advice for 40 years, but the work Dynamic Planner has done in the last few years on client profiling has really made me look at the psychology of the conversation between an adviser and client, and put emphasis on knowing more about your client.
Once you do, the advice becomes easier and clearer, so there are no misunderstandings. I think it’s a better experience for a client and it’s certainly a more compliant experience. It’s peace of mind for you that you do know your client and that there won’t be any shocks for them at their next annual review. Dynamic Planner’s questionnaires get the client to talk.
I love the way both the risk and sustainability questionnaires in Dynamic Planner approach the problem from a psychological standpoint, dealing with a customer’s emotions, which are pulled out nicely by them. Then their profile is up for discussion with you as their adviser.
I ask a client in a meeting, ‘Can I send you this [sustainability] questionnaire to complete?’ I prefer clients to complete it on their own, so they don’t feel I’m sat there watching and judging them. In the next meeting, I can pick it up with a client, which leads to a discussion about how the world’s changing and why it needs change, because people don’t tend to appreciate that their investments can make a difference.
Sparking a sustainable discussion
In responses from clients to the sustainability questionnaires, we have found people marking more neutral answers of ‘neither agree nor disagree’, showing perhaps that they don’t feel that they understand enough about sustainable investing. That then still highlights a client’s level of understanding. You can discuss that. It’s harking back to the old days in financial advice where a less confident client might say to you, ‘Well, what do you think?’ But today we can say, ‘No, we need to know what you think’.
Lockdown during Covid accelerated so many things. It made people look at the impact on the planet when nobody was flying or driving everywhere. People I think realised that they need to care about the planet and being honest, I think people do care. What sustainable investing does is show how you can make a difference.
Keep pace with trends in investing
I think being current in financial services is so important and Dynamic Planner gives you the tools to talk to clients about things which are current. I think our clients have responded positively and in 2021 we have invested more into sustainable funds than we have into other funds. We are seeing that shift.
I took some new clients on in lockdown, which is rare for me and it has been noticeable that younger investors are already there in terms of sustainable investing. They are aware and they care, although, interestingly, Dynamic Planner’s questionnaire has started conversations with younger generations and highlighted to them that Bitcoin, for example and regardless of risk, is not a sustainable investment. We might not have ordinarily discussed that.
The ESG fund research in Dynamic Planner is fantastic, to have it all under one roof. It makes life so much easier. The MSCI fund reports provide the backbone of information we provide for clients. There is so much in them; they’re so good; and they’re independent. Dynamic Planner here shines through as that home to independent fund research you can trust.
Clear, end-to-end communication
Without a doubt, I would recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm thinking about sustainable investing. You can feel the pressure building here. Dynamic Planner helps you prove, as a firm, that you have completed ESG fund research you can trust and have confidence in. Yes, compliance is so important in this industry, but it shouldn’t get in the way of the client process. It should be a result of it.
We have our client files checked independently and now you can produce a Recommendation report in Dynamic Planner, they commented to us that we had a beginning to end process evidenced in advice you’re providing for a client. And it all looks good and it reads well.
‘Dynamic Planner is a partner for us’
How far Dynamic Planner has come is phenomenal, in terms of explaining to our clients, in an easy fashion, why we’re looking at their financial plan and what we’re doing about it. The FCA said it didn’t want firms sending clients long reports in terms that they couldn’t understand. Dynamic Planner’s reports can be understood by the client.
The relationship, at Home & Finance, we have with Dynamic Planner is so strong, because we can see that you want to work with firms and want to know what we think. I class Dynamic Planner as a partner and I can only see that relationship becoming stronger in the future.
AV Trinity is a well-established company in Kent which has been trading for 20 years. We have 25 staff in all, which include nine advisers and three paraplanners, and the size of our assets under advice is approximately £360m. We offer clients holistic financial planning advice across all age groups.
AV Trinity offers a central investment proposition and a central retirement proposition to customers. Depending on the client segment, we recommend discretionary fund managers or risk targeted, multi-asset funds. For retirement planning, we typically recommend personal pensions.
Dynamic Planner enables us to ensure suitability in a number of ways. What we particularly like about it is the ability to clearly demonstrate to a client the impact in stochastic modelling terms of either down-risking or up-risking their investment portfolio. That process can be very powerful, because clients clearly see the impact of decisions they are considering. Dynamic Planner also allows us to clearly report a client’s capacity for loss and document their investor experience conveniently in one document.
The time savings Dynamic Planner offer are manifest in the client invites to complete the attitude to risk questionnaire before an initial meeting. What is most important is the discussion that follows completing the questionnaire with the client, so, in that sense, the client experience is better.
At AV Trinity, we are chartered financial planners and we are very proud of that fact, so client reports are not only important in terms of ensuring suitability and compliance with the FCA, but further, in terms of presentation to clients. The reports produced by Dynamic Planner give a very clear demonstration of why a risk profile has been selected, what a client’s capacity for loss is and also detail investor experience.
I don’t think we could envisage our practice today without Dynamic Planner. The outcomes, from a client perspective, are just what we are looking for in the current climate and also, from another perspective, we can have confidence that we can demonstrate to the FCA our clients’ investment suitability. I would certainly recommend Dynamic Planner to a fellow adviser.
Barwells Wealth has two financial advisers and approximately £110m in assets under management. We are a private client firm, offering advice on pensions and investments. We use three investment platforms – FundsNetwork, Nucleus and AJ Bell.
We first started using Dynamic Planner in 2014. The firm went through a due diligence process, looking at the functionality and usability of the different offerings. We concluded that Dynamic Planner was the easiest to use and, most importantly, the most intuitive, because we would be using it in front of the client. At Barwells, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other firms and advisers. It’s a very good piece of kit.
Dynamic Planner plays an integral part in our first meeting with clients. The iPad app is great. We typically use it with a client interactively. We like the way you can produce an outcome in real-time and then prompt questions around that outcome. You can then show the client the different risk profiles and different asset allocations, which is a great way of starting a discussion.
Equally, if a client comes across to us from another firm with existing investments you can compare the risk profile of their current portfolio against the risk profile of what investments you are proposing. Dynamic Planner is used in our back office as well in that scenario for product recommendations.
In the past when it came to client risk profiling, there was always a danger that the adviser very much led that conversation. An adviser might have made a snap decision that a client was cautious or that a client was adventurous, for example, and subsequently steered them down that particular path. Having a modelling process like Dynamic Planner really allows the client to drive decision-making much more.
It allows you to frame your advice to clients in ways that they can understand. The 1-10 Risk Profile scale is also easy to understand. There can be a danger that clients naturally head to the middle of the risk scale, but by allowing Dynamic Planner to encourage engagement with the client in a discussion, the client can take and feel some ownership of the process, rather than us as advisers saying, ‘I think you’re a balanced investor’ and the client replying, ‘What does that actually mean?’
I think it’s important clients are invested emotionally in the process. I have been working in this industry for 18 years and when I started financial advice was still very much a sales job. You were selling a product to somebody – but it has evolved, and it is important that clients today understand the mechanics of what is happening to their money.
In terms of efficiency, Dynamic Planner’s iPad app really helps. It’s a ‘one and done’ job: you get the questionnaire answers; you can produce a report; you can print the report; and the client can walk away with it from a meeting. That’s sped up our process considerably. Ensuring the client leaves with something tangible like a report helps you as an adviser demonstrate value, because they can see what you are doing.
It was a simple, easy process for us to start using Dynamic Planner when we did. We got good support in helping us integrate it with platforms. We were first demonstrated the software over webinars and then completed the buying process by telephone.
We have always had the sense at Barwells that Dynamic Planner is a financial services firm. In this industry, you can get companies which are say asset managers first and platforms second, or vice-versa. They can then, for example, be a great technology company, but not fully understand financial services. With Dynamic Planner, you know that they understand both financial services and technology.
It’s good that, as a user, you receive documents from Dynamic Planner saying that, ‘We are thinking about making these changes. What do you think?’. It’s good to see a technology provider really engaged with the end user – rather than suddenly Dynamic Planner 2.0 is released, everything’s different and you’re sat there thinking, ‘Why did you do that?’
There are three CF30 advisers at Mark Dean Wealth Management. Our approximate assets under management are £45million. We offer our clients, of which we currently have 38: no initial charges; only 0.5% ongoing charge; we are independent and directly authorised; and we are members of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers (FEIFA). We use Tenet Select for our compliance support.
We specialise in international financial planning. My immediate background, before I set the firm up in 2010, was Senior International Wealth Manager at HSBC International for five years. Before that, I was at Citibank, part of Citigroup, helping to establish an international financial advisory business for their Citigold clients
Starting out in financial services
I first started out in financial services at Sun Life of Canada. I didn’t choose the industry, being very honest, I kind of fell into it, as I needed a job where I could work my own hours and not be committed to nine-to-five. As time went on, I found my sales figures were consistently good and despite some ups and downs I’ve stuck doing what I know best and here we are 35 years later.
The biggest lesson I have learnt during my time in the industry – I would say, the quicker you can adapt to change, the more successful you will be. If you always look after your clients as if they were your own mother, then longer term your clients will look after you.
‘Dynamic Planner’s been a godsend’
We first began using Dynamic Planner in the summer of 2019 and it’s been a godsend. If I had to use one word to describe why we went with Dynamic Planner it would be ‘control’. It gives us, as a firm, much greater control over asset allocation and fund choice when we build model portfolios. It gives us a great structure to how we work.
We haven’t had the opportunity to do this before, but now using Dynamic Planner we can write a risk profiling report for clients, which is very good quality – and, using Elements and the Client Review, we have prepared annual review reports with bespoke front pages. That helps us demonstrate value as a firm and helps formalise all of our documentation, so everything is white labelled with our firm’s logo, for continuity. Also, that is what our clients trust.
In this day and age, with regulation, I don’t think you can run your business without it.
‘Something to hang your hat on’
We have started putting clients through Dynamic Planner’s Risk Profiling process – and we are also getting all existing clients to complete the questionnaires to update their profiles as well. It works well. Yes, it’s longer than others, but I think it needs to be, in this day and age. I don’t think as a firm you can get away with a straight, one-page risk profile questionnaire today.
Dynamic Planner is good because it assesses also a client’s investor experience and their capacity for loss, so it gives you something to hang your hat on, so to speak, for the regulator.
We love the support you get from the Client Success team at Dynamic Planner – they are great. You can call up; they don’t try and get you off the phone; they login and share the screen; and they stay on the line with you, right until the end to ensure you have resolved your issue. It’s really, really good. For me, this is Dynamic Planner’s biggest selling point.
We were also able – myself and a colleague – to arrange a conference call with Abhi Chatterjee, who heads up the Asset and Risk Modelling team, to explain more about Dynamic Planner’s asset allocation when we had questions.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm? Absolutely. In this day and age, with regulation, I don’t think you can run your business without it.
Dynamic Planner is a partner in my business, to all intents and purposes, and plays an integral part in it.
It supports me in having a compliant and repeatable process for risk profiling clients and for selecting where their money is invested, in line with benchmark asset allocations for an agreed level of risk. It removes that burden and allows me to focus on the parts of the planning process where, as an adviser, I can excel.
I like the fact that Dynamic Planner has a team of independent experts who can analyse world markets and decide where each of them are in the investment cycle, and ultimately ensure that the risk and return of the benchmark asset allocation for a risk profile 5 is higher than a 4, but less than a 6, for example. Everything remains in its right place.
You can’t adopt benchmark asset allocations without using a respectively designed risk questionnaire.
They must be tailored together. My job then, you could argue, is the simpler part; carefully researching the investment universe each quarter to find, for example, the best property fund to allocate 5% of my model portfolio to. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
I first began using Dynamic Planner around 2015, so that I could demonstrate to the regulator that we were independent of investment platforms and that we had a robust, independent risk profiling process in place for clients. Without this independent risk profiling process, a risk questionnaire would have to be used from a specific investment platform and clients may then logically assume that a decision has already been made to use only that platform, when really there are more options open to them.
I explain to clients that Dynamic Planner’s risk questionnaires are designed to make you carefully think about investment risk and reward. There is a science behind how they have been created and they are continually updated to ensure clients understand risk most effectively.
When I first sit with a new client, I ask them for a gut feeling of how risk averse they are. And maybe I joke that this was the process 30 years ago! Then I say, ‘Let’s do this scientifically’ and see what risk profile you come out as, which is the beginning of a deeper conversation.
At all stages, the client is reminded that together we will reach an agreed risk profile for them, and having a repeatable structure and process allows us to measure how that can change over time.
In this light, last March’s market drops due to Covid were painful for a time, but they did, perversely, remind investors about risk and volatility and how a strategic asset allocation can create diversified investment portfolios and help mitigate risk during periods of extreme volatility. This was, and is, important and comforting to clients.
I follow Dynamic Planner’s benchmark asset allocations for each risk profile to the letter and explain to clients the average expected return each year for a risk profile, referencing my firm’s own model portfolios and illustrating potential returns from best performing funds at that risk level.
I have fully adopted Dynamic Planner’s Client Review process and, by wedding it to video meetings using Zoom, it’s changed my life! I have reached out to clients in the past 12 months, asking to complete a review remotely and they have completely engaged with the process.
It’s fantastic that I can have a conversation with a client online, share with them real-time performance data, review their risk profile and complete that part of the process with a comprehensive report.
During the call, we build an email with relevant documents and hit send before ending the meeting. My PA receives it at the same time as the client and can follow up, actioning notes the client has already signed off and complete the final recommendation process.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm? Yes, 100%. And I do daily.
What is the biggest challenge you face today as a financial planner?
[Lee] I joined Parkgate two weeks before we went into lockdown in March. Although I have advised in the past, I have spent the last 10 years supporting the development of adviser firms across the UK. Having no clients of my own, I inherited a client bank at Parkgate and completely expected to go and meet each one face-to-face, because, for me, financial services has always been about face-to-face advice. The biggest challenge for me and clients was adapting to the new world.
The first thing I had to do was educate clients to meet on platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. This has also helped many of them connect with family and friends in a way they had never done before. Going back into advice, I’ve been surprised and pleased with the number of recommendations from clients I’ve only met ‘virtually’.
[Gareth] Incredibly, 2020 has been a better year for me in terms of the number of client referrals I have received than I did during 2019. We have helped clients to adapt exceptionally well to the new environment, in terms of meeting digitally, using electronic signatures, online live cash flow planning, risk profiling and reviews. Getting new business out of existing clients has actually been easier and far more efficient than historically.
[Lee] I think one advantage of meeting people on video, is you have a wealth of data and analysis you can share straight away, at the touch of a button, which you wouldn’t have face-to-face, because it’s not as practical.
Using Dynamic Planner as an example, you can share your screen and positioned in the right way, clients can get very involved and the process can be even more engaging in many ways.
Why did you first adopt Dynamic Planner, as a firm?
[Gareth] We began using Dynamic Planner in the summer of 2019. We wanted to strengthen the service clients received to be a completely consistent, end-to-end journey which they could engage in, understand and follow far easier than different pieces of the financial planning jigsaw not being as joined-up. This, aligned to Dynamic Planner’s vision, has led us on to introducing other areas to clients as they have been evolved and released, which clients have continued to engage with and benefit from.
We rebranded as a firm, in March 2020, so this summer we put all of that same imagery – from our website and client brochures – into Dynamic Planner’s Client Review and risk profile reports, so there is consistency for clients across the different touch points they have with us as a business. That functionality in Dynamic Planner is great, allowing you to brand reports exactly as you want them. Using Dynamic Planner’s Client Review tool certainly makes the team we have producing them more efficient.
What are the big benefits, for your firm, of using Dynamic Planner?
[Lee] Accurately ascertaining a client’s attitude to risk is a crucial step in the advice process. Using Dynamic Planner, you can tell as an adviser that the client just gets it, understands it and is happy with the outcome. Being able to get a client’s latest valuation for their portfolio and then be able to show them three scenarios – ‘Plan for this’ but ‘Be prepared for this’ etc. – really brings it home for the client.
[Gareth] To be able to have a review meeting with a client, which has been ‘virtual’ this year, share your screen with them, and then take them through their attitude to risk ‘live’ and then through their annual review report Dynamic Planner builds for you, means clients are completely engaged with the entire review process. The ability to almost go end-to-end for a review within one system and produce one report is great.
Echoing what Lee said about the different scenarios, people this year have naturally been more focused on what would happen if markets downturn and their portfolio falls in value, which we refer to as their capacity for loss. The Dynamic Planner process allows us to personalise this for every client and make it completely relevant to their circumstances.
As the client’s entire portfolio information is stored in the system, the real potential £’s lost is displayed, helping them fully understand their capacity for loss and the risk being taken within their portfolio.
What might life have been like, at your firm, without Dynamic Planner this year?
[Gareth] If we hadn’t had Dynamic Planner in 2020, it would not have been as easy for us to adapt to the impact of the pandemic and continue to deliver a first-class service to our clients. Having an end-to-end Attitude to Risk, flowing through to annual review reporting and now cash flow planning, has enabled us to continue to deliver an interactive, engaging service to our clients in a remote-meeting environment.
Would you recommend Dynamic Planner to a fellow advice firm?
[Both] Yes, definitely.
We first started using Dynamic Planner, because it made a lot of sense, through what it was doing. We knew we could use it to provide an audit trail of work we were doing with clients. We use a variety of providers including the Nucleus Wrap, Prudential and Royal London – and, for example, we often recommend to clients Tatton portfolios, which we can map directly into Dynamic Planner and its risk profiles to ensure their suitability for every client.
That’s also great for the client, because they can see instantly the level of risk they’re taking with current investments and whether they’re comfortable with that. It’s an easy conversation for you to both have.
The risk questionnaires for clients in Dynamic Planner are great and do that job really well. We used a different tool before and it was okay, but it doesn’t give you the depth Dynamic Planner provides. You can email the client a link to complete the questionnaires on their own, before a meeting – and most of the time, clients are very good at completing it. All the answers then are there, waiting for you. That work is done before you speak with the client.
It’s great to have the information on a client’s existing portfolio, all there, so that you can easily show its risk level and if that’s different to a client’s own risk profile. It’s a great way of pointing that out, because sometimes the difference can be quite dramatic. It just makes your job a lot easier.
The Client Review process and report in Dynamic Planner is very good and very extensive. For a typical review for a client, we start with the risk questionnaires, to see if there are any changes to consider. We then put together the report and see if everything’s on track with the portfolio. It’s good from the point of view of providing you with a framework to follow and repeat for a review. Does it save you time? Absolutely. There is an awful lot Dynamic Planner does, which saves you time as a firm.
Dynamic Planner’s Client Success team are excellent – every one of them are a credit to themselves. I’m sure they’re fed up with hearing my voice! They’re very patient and are always on hand to help, sharing their screen and talking you through how to do something. It’s such a bonus of being a Dynamic Planner user – that the Client Success team are so good.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm? 100 per cent. It’s fantastic and it’s clearly been designed with the IFA in mind. It’s user friendly; everything about it is good.
We have two financial advisers at the firm – which is directly authorised – working with approximately 200 clients paying ongoing fees. Working with that many clients and this is what Dynamic Planner is all about, you must have a process and CIP in place. Without a partner like Dynamic Planner, we wouldn’t be able to provide that.
Our clients’ attitude to risk is measured in Dynamic Planner and we wouldn’t go anywhere else for ATR, because simplicity is what we’re looking for. We first started using Dynamic Planner more than two years’ ago and we’re fully engaged with it.
For a new client, if a first meeting is successful – when we get a semblance of them and they can get a semblance of us – we ask them to complete Dynamic Planner’s risk and sustainability questionnaires, and a fact find, so we have the full picture.
Then, we begin a dialogue and Dynamic Planner is intrinsic to that. We love the reporting from Dynamic Planner we can send to a client at that stage, spelling out asset allocation and what the level of risk we have agreed with them means.
Sustainable investing fund research
There are different definitions of ‘green’ money and I think it’s going to take clients decades before their default investing position is ESG. If they’re making money, subject to taking an agreed level of risk, they’re not all going to move into ESG overnight. That’s the challenge for the industry.
At Watt Money, we currently have £10m under management in ESG and all of our clients are invested in funds with an A to AAA ESG rating by MSCI. Having their research available in Dynamic Planner has made our lives more simple. It really helps us make a recommendation. We love it.
MSCI is a very credible organisation and also, it could otherwise cost you, as a business, thousands of pounds each year to access that level of research. There is a lot of detail in a report on a fund and I would much rather include all of that for a client – then they can ask any questions, if they have them – than provide them with too little.
I think, during Covid, people have re-evaluated and re-engaged with what life is all about and how their money can help them. So, bringing in a psychometric sustainability questionnaire is a masterstroke from Dynamic Planner. I love it and we’ve had a number come back from clients. It provides you with a brilliant platform to have those conversations around ESG, which is really positive.
If, as a firm, you haven’t yet started to really think about ESG – because we know the FCA is on this – then I would say you’re potentially in trouble. Yes, I understand the fear of change and change is difficult, and the mountain to climb here is significant, because ESG is a deep subject. But what is available now in Dynamic Planner is a brilliant starting point for firms.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another advice firm? Yes, I would and I do.
Dynamic Planner will simplify your journey to ESG. For either a new client, starting out in investing or for people already on that journey, the Dynamic Planner risk and sustainability questionnaires are easy. I’ve given it to 20-somethings and they complete them, no quibbles.
We are directly authorised and have two financial advisers, between which we have just over 400 clients. A client portfolio varies in size. We have no minimum bar for a new client, ranging up to a client with more than £1.5million.
We have been using Dynamic Planner for approximately three years and we first adopted it to introduce a more formal process for risk profiling clients. I had just completed a lot of training in measuring attitude to risk and capacity for loss and identified it as something which was missing for us.
We’ve never had negative feedback from a client since adopting Dynamic Planner’s risk questionnaires, which I think is a superb reflection, both of the system and of us, as a firm. We invite clients to complete the questionnaires themselves online, which is brilliant, because an Administrator can complete that task, but the email the client receives still has the adviser’s name at the bottom. That’s really useful if you suddenly have a lot of reviews to complete.
When a client has completed the questionnaires, a notification is sent to you straight away. If a client prefers or doesn’t have access to technology, we send it out to them in the post. It isn’t a problem. The questionnaires are a great starting point to discuss the subject of risk. We stress to clients it’s not the final result.
‘Dynamic Planner is our benchmark for risk’
We use Dynamic Planner to review the risk of a client’s existing pensions and investments. We map across and risk profile all of our model portfolios using Dynamic Planner’s 1-10 scale. Those risk levels are constant throughout our firm. They’re our benchmark and that works very well for us.
The reporting and analysis Dynamic Planner produces, on a client’s portfolio, is fantastic. For example, if the client has existing holdings and we’re looking at reducing the risk, Dynamic Planner shows them where they are today; where you want them to be; and where they will be if you make a recommended switch.
That’s really useful, because traditionally in suitability reports in financial services, clients can be overwhelmed by words and information from their adviser. Seeing it graphically, on a chart, it makes perfect sense to them. It’s just sharing information in a different way.
Sustainable investing is becoming more and more important to clients, so the sustainability questionnaire in Dynamic Planner is definitely on the horizon for us to use. We’ve had meetings at our firm about how we’re going to tackle this and the questionnaire in Dynamic Planner looks like a fantastic place to start those conversations with clients.
In the past, ESG and sustainability was something we didn’t have a demand for from clients, but it is something we now openly discuss, whether a client asks about it or not and we have ESG investments available, for clients keen to invest sustainably. We’ve found younger, newer clients have an interest in sustainability, while older, existing clients perhaps less so, but it is something we have noticed is on the rise.
Time-saving client reviews
We complete reviews for clients every six months, on an interim basis, with a full review completed annually, when we review their attitude to risk. If it has been safe for a client to come into the office, we will bring their portfolio’s information in Dynamic Planner up on the screen and analyse it together before creating a final report as a PDF when we reach the end of the meeting and have a final recommendation.
Since we went directly authorised and also began using Dynamic Planner, we have changed a lot of our processes. The documentation we send now to clients is miles apart from what we were doing previously. The reports in Dynamic Planner include everything they need to, but without being overcomplicated. They’re absolutely superb for our clients. That’s important, because, yes, clients want to know how their portfolio has performed, but they don’t want to be bamboozled necessarily by jargon they may not understand.
Our philosophy at the firm is more relaxed and less formal, while, at the same time, the serious work done behind the scenes for clients is completed superbly, ensuring clients receive the best possible advice without being overwhelmed with information. The reports in Dynamic Planner provide exactly the type of analysis we want to share with clients.
We recently integrated Dynamic Planner with Intelligent Office and that has helped change everything. Prior, we were inputting data client by client, which was hard work, but now something like the review document in Dynamic Planner is so simple and quick to produce. It’s a dream, really.
We were looking to introduce cash flow planning, into our service for clients and we looked at several tools in the market, but they were too much. We wanted something relatively simple to use, so we began training in Dynamic Planner’s Cash flow. And we love it. It’s fantastic and is proving to be a great asset to us and our clients.
We use it live during a meeting to show a client the different impact between retiring at 60, for example, or retiring at 65. It’s great to be able to use it live and it comes back to a picture being worth 1,000 words. You can relay information to a client and they will take it in, but when they can see it in front of them, more visually it can be more powerful.
It’s great to remind a client that, yes, your portfolio is performing well at the moment, but we also have to be prepared for a negative market scenario as well. We used cash flow with a couple of clients in April 2020, just after the extreme drops in March. The clients were each drawing income from their investments and cash flow modelling highlighted the impact of continuing to withdraw money at their current rate. It was great to show that.
Client-focused financial planning
We focus on service to our clients and the big benefit for us using Dynamic Planner is the service we are now able to offer clients, as a result.
Looking back, to what we were doing two years ago, before we began adopting Dynamic Planner, there’s no comparison. The clients are aware of that and they’re so pleased with what we’re offering them now and we wouldn’t be able to do that without Dynamic Planner. Would we recommend it to another advice firm? Yes, we would.