The fact find phase of the advice process is arguably the most important phase when determining the best option to meet your clients’ needs. Otherwise, how can you be sure you know enough about them and their finances to know whether your advice is suitable? This is even more important when considering your retirement clients as their needs are so much more complex due to the choices now available to them. Ensuring you ask the right questions means you and your client can be confident in your choices.
It’s also important to ensure your clients understand how important this phase is. Research shows that despite the fact that a majority of clients (60 – 65%) are interested in an adviser’s expertise and help planning for the future, many don’t take the fact find phase as seriously as they should. There can be many reasons for this – some may feel uncomfortable answering such personal questions; some may be burying their head in the sand about their financial situation; and others simply won’t have thought about their financial affairs in enough detail to answer your questions. Whatever it is, you need to try to overcome this and ensure you get the information you need to make the right recommendations.
This module is designed to help you meet both of these objectives.
It’s likely you currently use a fact find questionnaire of some description to capture basic information about your client, their family, their dependants and any health concerns they may have.
Top tip: send your fact find questionnaire to your client in advance so they can prepare for your meeting.
However, while this information is still relevant for clients in retirement, it does not capture everything you need to know about them.
Of course, fact finding is a lot more than simply finding out a client’s date of birth and national insurance number. In fact, our Generation Advice report (November 2015) found that 75% of clients felt that ‘being understood’ by their financial adviser was the one thing they valued above everything else.
Therefore, in order to truly tailor your advice to their needs, you must try to get to know them as a person so you can understand their goals and dreams. This is particularly important for clients approaching or in retirement, as many people have been looking forward to their retirement for several years and they often have a very specific picture of how they hope it will be. Asking the right questions not only helps you to turn that dream into a reality (or reset expectations if their dreams are not achievable), but it also lets the client see that you care about them as a person. This will mean they are likely to keep coming back to you as they will trust that you are working with their best interests in mind.
You may even find that a client’s beneficiaries may decide to keep their assets under the management of your firm once they have been passed down to them as they know their benefactor was so happy with the service they received from you.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some examples of additional questions you may wish to ask your retirement clients, broken down into categories:
It’s also important to keep in mind that the retirement decision you help your client to make now could be irreversible. Therefore, make sure you consider the following risk factors too when compiling your retirement questions:
Implementing a Centralised Retirement Proposition (CRP) will help with many of these questions.