Raymond James helping advisers offer new retirement expertise

Wellness, risk management and estates built into new financial planning tools

Feb 7, 2018 @ 1:13 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

People are living longer than ever and many retirees aren't prepared for the increased challenges and expenses they will face during all those extra years. Financial advisers often feel ill-equipped to help them, but there are tools that can help them aid clients.

Raymond James on Wednesday rolled out a new suite of resources for its 7,300 advisers that can guide clients through planning for increased longevity. The tools will be available through the firm's intranet, RJnet, and combine traditional financial planning with wellness planning (housing, healthcare, caregiving and transportation), risk management (long-term care, Medicare and elder fraud protection) and estate planning.

Frank McAleer, the senior vice president of wealth, retirement and portfolio solutions at Raymond James, said if advisers can help clients take control of these critical needs, they can demonstrate their worth beyond managing money.

"In today's world of compressed fees, this is just another way to bring so much more value to the client," Mr. McAleer told InvestmentNews.

(More: Ric Edelman looks into the future of financial advice)

Raymond James spent six to nine months vetting companies that work on longevity issues. The firm eventually settled on five vendors to feature as trusted services for clients: Broadspire Care Management to helps clients stay in their home as they age; PinnacleCare, a concierge health advisory service; Eversafe for elder fraud prevention; HealthPlanOne to aid with the complexities of Medicare; and Everplans, an online database for clients to store end-of-life wishes and any other information they wish to leave for loved ones.

Each partner gets a dedicated, co-branded website on RJnet that Raymond James advisers can use to recommend the service to clients at a discounted rate. Many clients aren't aware that these types of services even exist, Mr. McAleer said.

Raymond James also is including resources to show advisers how they can use Goal Planning & Monitoring, the firm's customized version of MoneyGuidePro, to build custom financial plans to ensure clients can afford the needs they will have in aging.

Abby Schneiderman, the co-CEO and co-founder of Everplans, said the partnership with Raymond James validates her belief that advisory firms are looking for technology to improve client relationships by helping them prepare for unexpected life events.

"This answers three main areas of demand for financial advisers: providing value-added, tech-enabled offerings beyond investment management, helping to deepen client and prospect relationships by facilitating more meaningful conversations, and providing a natural entry point to discussions with their clients' children and heirs," Ms. Schneiderman said.

Helping advisers connect with the next-generation of clients is one of the goals of offering these resources, Mr. McAleer said.

(More: New bill aims to ease access to online accounts after client's death)

Children can often bear the brunt of taking care of longevity issues for their parents, and Raymond James' offering is "a fantastic way to demonstrate to the children how much more value you can provide besides just managing money," he said.

Raymond James isn't the only broker-dealer focused on the longevity challenge. Ameriprise has its Confident Retirement approach, which uses technology to help advisers recommend how clients can cover essentials, maintain lifestyle, prepare for the unexpected and leave a legacy. Securities America offers the NextPhase program, which it calls a "soup to nuts" retirement income program.

"Significantly longer life expectancy rates should be a positive development, not a worrisome problem," said Zachary Parker, the vice president of wealth management and product strategy at Securities America. "The challenge facing our entire industry is how firms can play a role in ensuring that longer-lived clients don't lose out when it comes to quality of life."

The longevity issue also is attracting independent technology vendors. Michael Roth, the president of RetireUp, called longevity risk the "single retirement risk that magnifies all other risks in retirement," but said the tools to help advisers with this is one of the industry's biggest shortcomings.

He believes this deficit will drive a lot of developments in adviser technology throughout 2018.

"We need more tools and educational resources that help paint the long-term retirement income risks for clients, especially those with decades ahead of them, to show them how quickly a plan can be deterred," Mr. Roth said. "This opens the door for conversations around health insurance, annuities, and other protective products that can save a person's life."

Mr. McAleer said Raymond James' offering was developed with input from a group of 40 advisers on the company's retirement solutions advisory board. He added that Raymond James will expand the partnerships and resources as client needs evolve.

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