PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A Connecticut advisory firm has developed a new approach to help financial planners solve client problems more quickly and efficiently.

The answer lies in what Greenwich, Conn.-based RayLign Advisory calls Live Case Supervision, a technique that involves case studies of ongoing business cases or problems.

The activity is aimed at strengthening internal communications across service units, exchanging institutional knowledge, supporting business strategy and day-to-day management initiatives, and developing personnel skills.

To practice this technique with you and your colleagues: Separate yourselves into two separate groups -- let's say Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 will form themselves sitting around a circular table. Group 2 will seat themselves in a larger circle around Group 1.

Group 1 will do the talking in a discussion instigated by one team member who will present a specific problem with a client by outlining these details: 

  1. Background of the relationship -- how the advisor came to know the client.
  2. The initial "presenting problems"-- how they wanted to help the client and how the relationship has evolved.
  3. Family tree description 
  4. How the advisor is framing the work: Value the advisor is bringing or aspiring to bring. 
  5. Financial information available: The client's financial plans, investment policy statements, summaries and/or diagrams of trusts.
  6. Challenges the advisor is facing with the client. 

After the presenter is finished laying out the details of a specific case, the teammates of Group 1 will ask questions and aim to develop solutions and ideas to solve the problem.
Group 2 will simply listen closely, paying attention to group dynamics and the method that Group 1 used to solve and poke holes into the problem.

Once Group 1 completes the case study, the groups will reverse and perform the same analysis. 

"We adapted this process from the medical community to bring to wealth advisors who work with high net worth families," said Gregory Rogers, founder and president of RayLign Advisory at TD Ameritrade's Elite Advisor Summit in Palm Beach, Fla. 

According to Rogers, advisory firms of all sizes should try this strategy to help with the following:

  1. Work with next-generation clients.
  2. Make acquisitions without disrupting the current business
  3. Define the scope of advisor services. 

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