[8 minute read]
When did you first adopt Dynamic Planner as a firm?
We have 750 clients at Bainlye Drake Wealth, so Dynamic Planner helps us look after the business, in that sense, that we have created so far – delivering the highest level of service possible.
In April 2018, we came away from a network which had its own in-house risk profiler, but which we felt was limited. We were looking for something more progressive, more state of the art, focusing on the client’s willingness to take risk, their attitude, alongside their ability to afford to take risk, their capacity for loss. That’s why the extra questions in Dynamic Planner are so important.
The third trunk to that conversation is looking at the level of risk the client needs to take, to achieve their objectives. It’s about then applying balance to finetune and agree a final risk profile for a client.
It was also important for us that we had software which helped us document our fund research, at an Investment Committee level and also from an internal compliance perspective.
Beyond that, when I first saw Dynamic Planner’s ‘Elements’ and Client Review launched, I knew that was going to be a game-changer and moving forward, the cash flow upgrade coming later in 2020 will really help clients make sense of complex financial decisions they have to make.
Has Dynamic Planner enabled you to use less pieces of software?
Yes. Before we used Dynamic Planner, we had disjointed processes, retrieving information from various sources and meaning we had either double or even triple data entry for clients. We were having to use more pieces of software at an additional cost, software which had inconsistencies in how they spoke to each other.
Now we’re using Dynamic Planner, it’s more streamlined and better for everyone. We’ve been able to turn off, so to speak, three to four pieces of software we were using, at a saving of between £200 and £250 per month.
How has Dynamic Planner’s Client Review helped you?
Dynamic Planner enables us as a firm to have a consistency of approach and one which is robustly documented, so all advisers are doing the same thing and the final output for the client is of a similar high quality – but is also compliant, thereby de-risking the business.
At the start of a review, we update the information on the client – are there any changes in their circumstances since last year? Obviously, we then look at portfolio performance over the last 12 months, to see if there has been a rise or fall in its value, alongside what payments have been going in and any withdrawals.
Once all that is in place, we revisit the client’s risk profile; their portfolio’s risk profile – and how it has performed against a relevant benchmark, which is so much easier now, because the Dynamic Planner benchmark asset allocations for each Risk Profile are now available in the software. We discuss if any changes to the portfolio are needed and finally we look at charges for the last year and projected charges for the upcoming year.
Dynamic Planner allows you to do all that fairly seamlessly – and when we first saw its new Client Review, it felt like being a caveman first discovering fire, it felt that important. A huge lightbulb moment. We had lots of advisers completing annual reviews, but there wasn’t any consistency of approach. To demonstrate the value for the fees you’re charging clients, for ongoing service was difficult – it was difficult to get all that information together professionally and compliantly in one place.
How much time does Dynamic Planner save you per review?
Before, it would have taken us around 1hr 30min to get everything together. Now, we can do it all in 45min. A quantum leap forward and a massive help for us, particularly as a smaller firm which doesn’t have massive resources available. In that sense, we’re grateful that Dynamic Planner enables us to compete with larger firms.
How else does Dynamic Planner’s Client Review help?
It provides you with a framework for reviews and the software itself is very intuitive to use. We, for example, took on a new team member very recently and in only her first two weeks, she was able to help me with my annual reviews for clients scheduled that month. She’s also received one-to-one training from Dynamic Planner and she also has access to their on-demand training videos, so overall it’s been straightforward for her and stress-free for me having someone new join the firm.
The reports themselves each year also create a record and act as stepping stones for the clients in pursuit of their end goals and objectives. It’s something you can refer back to if necessary. The reports are very readable and you can also personalise them for the client. For example, for a client’s postcode, I can find an iconic photo representing that area and include it on the front cover. I think that attention to detail takes what you offer clients to the next level.
How do you complete fund research in Dynamic Planner?
We offer clients a restricted proposition and we don’t deal in high risk or non-mainstream investments to keep things simpler, focusing on the middle ground, so to speak, which suits most of our clients.
We do have an Investment Committee which sits every quarter and with the help of Dynamic Planner, what we do is look at the current range of funds – which are all mapped to Dynamic Planner – we offer clients and see if they remain fit for purpose and are performing as expected. If any funds are underperforming, we select and recommend for clients new solutions risk mapped by Dynamic Planner.
In the decumulation space, where there are more risks for the client, Dynamic Planner has been invaluable with the new purple badged, decumulation funds. Without them and without Dynamic Planner, that research and investigation would be extremely difficult, time consuming and costly to carry out. We would have probably had to contract it out to third-party experts.
There has been a huge focus recently within the industry on creating income in retirement for clients – and on finding a suitable solution for clients here. I knew when I first heard of the new Dynamic Planner decumulation funds that it was going to be a huge missing piece of the puzzle for the client. On the back of PROD, where the manufacturer or provider needs to be designing funds appropriate for the client – which as advisers we need to match the two together – there are going to be a lot more funds like this built in future.
Moving forward, where it’s appropriate, we’re going to have an investment pathway for clients who take a regular income from their investments – and it makes perfect sense that they should be looking at the purple badged funds in Dynamic Planner.
How has Dynamic Planner helped you and your firm this year?
One way has been how we have been able to send out the risk questionnaires to clients, to complete on their own. People have lost control this year of their personal freedom, but one thing they can take control of more is their financial future. This is an important way it helps them do that. As a firm, that enables us to add value for the client and it saves us time, because it pulls straight into the report you are preparing for the client for their annual review, say.
The client-facing literature Dynamic Planner produced, particularly at the start of this year’s crisis, was another way. We normally send out a newsletter to clients every month, but with Dynamic Planner’s help, we were able to send it out every two weeks, because we had content around behaviourial insights and biases we could share, helping clients understand the way they were feeling.
That ability meant we weren’t inundated with knee-jerk phone calls from clients driven by that fear and uncertainty people have experienced – saying, ‘I want to go into cash’. To be able to support clients more emotionally has been a subtle but important change for us – to be able to, for the first time, break things down objectively for clients by a partner like Dynamic Planner who we trust. We’ve added value for the client and we’ve de-risked ourselves, as a firm, as well.
The consistency, stability and the functionality of Dynamic Planner has allowed us to embrace technology more this year, with less fear – saving time, saving money and enabling us to focus more on the client, with deeper and more broader conversations during meetings.
Would you recommend Dynamic Planner to a fellow advice firm?
Absolutely. The system has worked flawlessly for us since we first came on board. It’s a very powerful tool. There are cost-savings from streamlining your processes and it de-risks the firm from a compliance perspective.
Dynamic Planner is also committed to constantly improving and upgrading its software – you can see that at events like their Annual Conference each year. New, exciting additions are coming to what is already an amazing piece of software.