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Why I might walk away from a potential advisor

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I recently came away disappointed from a meeting with a financial planner I’d considered hiring. Our conversation went well until the end, when he told me I’d need to fill out a 14-page PDF with details large and small, including my address, children’s information, real estate holdings, fixed expenses and salary details.

My enthusiasm drained away. This planner worked for a firm that already had this information. Why the duplication and why a PDF?

I’m not alone in feeling frustrated. When independent advisors are slow to catch up with the digital revolution, it costs them.

Clients are increasingly choosing firms based on the digital experience they will have, said Kelli Keough, the global head of digital wealth management for JPMorgan Chase, speaking at our In|Vest conference in New York last month. “If we don’t have a fantastic experience for our clients, we will lose our clients to those who do,” she warned.

My experience, staring at the 14-page form, certainly wasn’t fantastic. I haven’t made any decisions yet about that planner, but neither have I started on all that paperwork.

Fortunately, there are two new columnists for Financial Planning who are embracing change. This month marks the inaugural column of Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant Capital Management in Rockford, Illinois, who will write on big-picture trends that are reshaping advisory practices. He debuts this month with “Are You Starving Your Firm?”

And Allan Boomer, managing partner of Momentum Advisors in New York, brings a nuanced eye to the toughest client conundrums in “Should diversity be part of clients' portfolios?”

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