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.
Risk profiling clients
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.
Cash flow planning
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.