How advisers can use technology to calm clients' post-election jitters

Technology can enable a more efficient human connection during times of financial uncertainty

Nov 22, 2016 @ 11:40 am

By Sheryl Rowling

The election is behind us and we have a new administration ahead of us. Whether you or your clients are celebrating or lamenting, your job is to inform and help clients with planning for the future. Based on campaign promises and party platforms, potential changes may be far reaching, impacting areas such as individual and corporate tax rates, estate taxes, health care and investments.

(More: Advisers and clients worry about Obamacare changes under Trump)

While some clients are concerned, others are wondering how they will be able to reap benefits. Although none of us have crystal balls, we have enough information to provide our clients with “what if” scenarios. Our job is about reassuring clients so they know we're prepared for any eventuality and educating them so they feel more comfortable with what it all means.

So, how does technology fit in? Technology can help every step of the way, for discovery, planning, communication and implementation. This means reaching out to clients to discover what they want to learn, planning for what to present, utilizing tools for presenting and tapping internal technology for implementing strategies.

In my opinion, mass email functionality provided by a CRM is critical during times of high emotion. Clients appreciate timely emails, so now is the time to send a basic summary of potential financial impacts of the election. At the end of the summary, ask for a response: What would you like to learn more about and how would you like us to communicate (email, webinar, seminar)? This one action will earn many brownie points.

(More: Presidential election sparks awareness of gender issues)

However, to build on this, advisers should actually follow through on the offer to provide further information. Depending on the wishes of clients and the complexity of the topic, advisers should consider a newsletter or email (again using the CRM to process), a webinar (using virtual meeting tools), or a seminar (using presentation software such as PowerPoint).

Behind the scenes, research tools and online resources can help provide advisers with current information. Tax planning software can analyze different cases. And rebalancing software can help implement any changes to investment strategy — whether changing allocations, rearranging preferred account locations for investments (location optimization), harvesting tax losses or harvesting gains.

(More: How advisers can demonstrate value amid the rise of robo-advice)

It is important to note that when clients are feeling financial uncertainty, the human connection is of primary importance. Technology enables a more efficient human connection.

Sheryl Rowling is head of rebalancing solutions at Morningstar Inc. and principal at Rowling & Associates. She considers herself a non-techie user of technology.

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