The Black Box Problem – The Advisor Perspective

Jad Chehlawi

When did you last look back to what made you get started as a financial advisor? That one, all-powerful motivator that kept you at it through the early days of being overworked, underpaid, and anxious.

The fact that you are bringing value to the lives of people! Helping them create a life of abundance. Helping them use their finances to build a better life.

It takes more than a pocket-full of good intentions to deliver consistently, doesn’t it? As you grow your practice, you must become more efficient.

More clients = more needs.

You’re staffed appropriately to meet them, but the current model does not allow for the personalized attention clients crave from the people handling their money. You’re always busy dealing with something on your clients’ behalf whether it’s regulatory changes, deciphering complex products, dealing with customer service or coordinating with other experts to deliver holistically. But they don’t always see that.

It’s what we call the Black Box Problem.

Allow us to illustrate!

John and Jane are some of your first clients. They’ve been with you for 15 years. You meet them a few times a year and actively listen to their needs. You put your best effort into hand picking a team and portfolio for John and Jane’s goals. You feel good about the fact that the plan you put together made their goal of paying for Sophie to go to college a reality this year.

But you’ve never had a referral from either John or Jane. Why is that?

Could it be because John and Jane, while not unhappy with your service, aren’t blown away by the process either? So why recommend it?

What they see is this… They see you a few times a year. While their portfolio is doing ok, the rules of engagement don’t allow for all-day chats that lead to insights into their minds, allowing you to craft the perfect plan! You were not around when John was trying to decide if the new job offer that came with a different configuration of terms was the right decision for the family. You were not around when Jane had a vague feeling of unease all day after reading a market report on some of the sectors they are invested in. They know you can’t be around all the time. The economics of a model that supports infinite, on-demand care simply wouldn’t work.

But they imagine wistfully what it would be like to reach out to you more without becoming your neediest, most annoying client!

What they don’t see is this… How you skipped lunch yesterday because you wanted to make sure you researched all the variables to make an investment decision that will support their plan to fund a vacation home in Florida. How they likely would’ve missed out on the RRSP top up for Jane if you hadn’t pointed it out earlier this year. How you coordinate the moving parts, so tax season never has been a problem for them.

Imagine wistfully for a second if they could see all that effort in a way that didn’t involve you telling them; feeling awkward and sales-y as you do.

This lack of visibility is what we call the 'Black Box Problem’.

We define it as the two way problem that occurs when your clients can’t clearly see what you are doing for them; and when you discover your clients’ needs and concerns a little too late.

No one wins with the black box problem.

But a solution exists. A solution that comes, as it should, with technology. A solution that encourages mutual accountability between experts and your clients, and tangibly demonstrates the value of advice.

TelosTouch brings your clients closer to you to increase confidence in financial decisions. Our collaboration platform deepens the understanding of behavior to better recommend and implement financial services (portfolio management, insurance, financial planning, tax and legal services).

The benefits to you as an advisor are:

  • It allows you to deepen your understanding of client needs to better recommend and implement advice.
  • It enables you to spend more time giving your clients advice and less time on administrative tasks.
  • It increases governance by capturing all client interactions and behaviour on one platform.
  • It facilitates greater engagement by bringing your clients’ financial life into one space, in real time.
  • It improves financial outcomes by promoting mutual accountability between you and your clients.

With this platform, your clients will start seeing the magic you weave to make it all come together. Value all round. No black boxes!

So, yes! Transparency is everything!

Know what’s available today and what it can do for your business. Build a better practice focussed on transparency and visible value.

If you’d like to hear more about TelosTouch, our wealth management platform that enables advisors like you, and your clients to engage in real time, making the value of the relationship clearly visible, contact us today.

Advisor Insights

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