by Tony Vidler
Consumers increasingly need solutions which require professional collaboration between different experts, and while plenty of suggestions can be found about how to collaborate with others from other professions, there is not quite so much suggestion about how to collaborate successfully with professionals from within the same sector.
Consumers usually want fairly straightforward outcomes from advisers, but getting to the point of delivering concise solutions which appear simple often now requires great expertise on the part of a financial adviser. As the financial services world gets more complex, and advisers increasingly specialise in highly technical areas and only deal with one element of a consumers needs, there is an increasing tendency for many to move away from holistic and strategic conversations with clients and focus upon a specific area of need which is of course their specialty area.
This makes sense from many perspectives, however it raises the risk of multiple financial professionals being perceived as competing with each other – or providing perhaps conflicting advice – when in fact they are not. Each is presenting solutions to particular problems and those solutions can and do work in tandem with other solutions or advice about different parts of the financial planning process…but does the consumer understand that?
For the majority of consumers the financial planning process is an extraordinary, long and complex process. When they are engaging in that process with a number of highly proficient technical experts specialising in aspects of financial planning then it appears even more complex to the consumers.
Something which does help bring clarity to the complex process as well as the roles of individual professionals collaborating is for both (or all) of the professionals to use the same visual to describe how their roles work together, and their respective parts in the process.
An example of using a common visual to describe how cash management, insurance, and retirement planning work together to address typical lifestyle needs would be:
Two advisers with different areas of expertise – say investment planning and risk management – can both be using the same visual to describe their respective areas to a client, and how those respective areas work together.
It highlights the necessity of collaboration between experts in different disciplines.
For todays professionals who are finding themselves specialising in a particular discipline, and potentially working with other professionals with the same client, creating common visuals that show the interaction of the respective disciplines can be an excellent way of presenting how the professional collaboration works to achieve the clients objectives. It can increase engagement in the use of BOTH professionals services.