Often financial advisers create financial plans and act as stock pickers or investment strategists for their clients. However, the world of investing is developing skills and expectations of knowledge and professionalism that are rapidly outpacing them. We believe that one of the most critical roles that a good financial adviser can play is to be an effective and trusted behavioural coach for their clients. After all, we are in the business of behaviour modification. Our view is that attempting to be all things to your clients will not achieve great results.
In this interview, we talk to Manelisi Makasi our Head of Wealth Management. Here, he tells us more about how combining multiple experts to work with a client results in greater client outcomes.
How do you approach your first meeting with a client?
It depends on the client’s financial needs. When we meet a client who requires all-inclusive financial planning (investing, retirement, risk and estate planning), we always have an investment specialist present in the meeting. Most of the time clients will have existing investments they want to be reviewed, therefore, it makes sense to have someone who is an investment expert.
You would not gamble with your health by seeing a doctor who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else, so why do it with your finances. We learned very early that most financial advisers cannot discuss investment markets in depth and with confidence. Equally, most investment specialists cannot talk about financial planning comfortably; retirement planning, tax legislation, inheritance and the other subjects that fall into financial planning. We believe the team approach is very beneficial to our clients.
What is the role of a wealth manager in these meetings?
What I do is about people, their families and their future. We create a financial plan that aligns how you spend your money with what is important to you. We tailor your plan to your individual circumstances and objectives, taking into account your complete financial situation. We will look at every aspect of your finances, to understand how advice in one area may affect all other parts of your life. For example, we could help you plan for your retirement or how to preserve your retirement benefits when changing jobs, show you how much is the shortfall in your retirement planning, then look at how this could affect you later in life.
What is the role of the investment specialist in these meetings?
Our investment team takes care of the money management behind the client’s financial plan. They ensure that their money is invested appropriately, in line with our investment philosophy, and make any changes whenever necessary. Beyond that, however, is often where the real value in these meetings lies. Most clients usually have existing investments that are not in line with their requirements and attitude to investment risk, in those cases the investment team performs a thorough portfolio review and makes a recommendation. We do all this while being sensitive to clients’ needs and their tolerance for risk.
What happens once someone becomes your client?
Maintaining client contact is key. The wealth management business is based on developing personal trust and relationships. All the client surveys indicate that the reason most clients leave an adviser is that they do not hear from their adviser enough. In response to this, we have a focused service model that we use across all our client segments. The ‘sweet spot’ of our service model is the scheduled frequent client contact, which we believe is the number-one factor influencing client retention. We are obsessed with showing clients that we really care. I know that if I was a client I would look for something meaningfully special from my financial service provider. And that special something for us is understanding what clients they really want and make it a reality.
Manelisi is responsible for overseeing both the wealth management and business development teams. He has been in the asset management industry for 11 years. He started his career at Allan Gray as a Client Service Consultant and was subsequently appointed Business Development Manager. His most recent experience was working as a wealth manager.