SAN FRANCISCO - Jimi Hendrix famously asked his listeners if they were experienced. Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, is asking advisors why they aren't providing clients with an optimum experience.

"Firms focusing on the client experience are growing faster, have better retention and higher margins," Tibergien told advisors at DeVoe & Co.'s M&A and Succession conference. "Advisors are moving beyond commoditized investment management and planning and are helping clients to navigate life choices."

Helping clients make decisions about their family, career, schools and even leisure time will result in greater differentiation and market share, he asserted.

Helping clients to navigate life choices  will result in greater differentiation and market share, says Pershing  CEO Mark Tibergien. Image: Orange Photography
Helping clients to navigate life choices will result in greater differentiation and market share, says Pershing CEO Mark Tibergien. Image: Orange Photography

One firm serving high-net-worth clients noticed that many of their clients were avid adventure travelers, Tibergien said. The firm subsequently launched a concierge service to help clients select and book trips.

"It's going to be harder for firms who aren't taking these kinds of initiatives to distinguish themselves," he said.

Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital, agreed.

United pioneered the concept of "financial life management" and Duran, in an interview with Financial Planning, said it has been "the driving difference between us and the competition."

The firm has hired behavioral economists and psychologists and plans to begin offering clients "lifestyle solutions" such as vacation recommendations and discounts on hotels and gym memberships. "What people want to do with lives is going to be as important as the money they make in their lives," Duran said.

Offering non-financial advice and being a "knowledgeable confidant" gives advisory firms an "added dimension," industry veteran Tim Kochis, the former CEO of Aspiriant and currently a special advisor to DeVoe & Co., said in an interview.

"Helping people with life optimization is a real thing and valuable," Kochis said. "I think people will be willing to pay for it on some kind of retainer basis."

Charles Paikert

Charles Paikert

Charles Paikert is a senior editor at Financial Planning. Follow him on Twitter at @paikert.