Participants in last week’s Kehrer Bielan virtual study group on the Path to Planning focused on client engagement and segmentation as keys to more widespread use of planning in banks and credit unions.


Kehrer Bielan’s Leigh Van Heule, who leads the planning consulting practice at Kehrer Bielan and co-moderated the discussion, described the Path to Planning as starting with profiling that identifies the areas where a client needs advice.


Asset-Map’s Adam Holt said that engaging a client through an interactive profiling process empowers the client to ask for advice, and validates the advisor’s alignment, permitting the advisor to provide advice.  That advice can be apparent from the profile, or the profile could reveal that the client is a candidate for more comprehensive planning.  Interactive client profiling generates more advice-led engagement and higher revenue.


Financial Planning is core to the Ameriprise value proposition. David Bresler, who leads the firm’s advisor development unit, explained how by the end of 2020, the firm expects between 85% – 90% of clients to be engaged in some form of planning. This high engagement by advisors and clients is a result of several factors, including dedicated planning resources and the use of a foundational planning framework helpful to almost all clients.


The consensus of the discussion:  what advisors do is provide financial advice, and that a profiling and engagement process is needed to prepare both the client and the advisor for the advising process and understanding how deep that advising should be.


Paul Markowich from Firstrust Financial Resources spoke for the group when he said, “The need for advice is greater than ever.”


Participants also offered their insights on why advisors should embrace planning, who should have a plan, and why many advisors are not with the program. You can access a video recording of the session here.


The Path to Planning is the first in a series reimagining the Kehrer Bielan study group on developing holistic advisors in a virtual setting.  Fifty-eight members of the bank securities and insurance community participated in the meeting, which was sponsored by Ameriprise Financial Institutions Group, Asset-Map, and Envestnet MoneyGuide, and brought to you by Pacific Life.