The Practice Playbook

Bill McManus   |  Tue Nov 17 15:00:00 EST 2015

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We’ve addressed in the past that financial advisors have taken a new, more robust role in response to the evolving expectations of clients. We’ve shared research that emphasizes the importance of financial advisors offering empathy and personalized services to their clients. And we’ve also talked about how client demands have increased and moved away from investment performance alone and towards individualized, relevant information.

What all of this shows us is that demands have increased, and the perceived value has shifted from being solely based off of the investment component of what financial advisors provide their clients. More is being asked of financial advisors today, and those who do not find a way to adapt to today’s clients run the risk of losing clients or referrals. It is becoming increasingly important than financial advisors treat each client as an individual, which means knowing their unique situation, finances and goals. Due to all of this, the time and energy of financial advisors today have never been stretched so thin.

In order to keep up with these new and increasing expectations, the development of processes and systems in day-to-day activities becomes critical to any financial advisor’s ability to service existing clients and provide them with the value they have come to expect. An established process is also integral to growth, so that they can offer the same quality of personalized service to new clients.

I suggest that financial advisors start by creating a ‘Practice Playbook,” a written handbook that sets guidelines to help drive the day-to-day activities of the team. Having a playbook that everyone contributes to keeps all of the information in one place, and it also gives every advisor the ability to share and access best practices within one, centralized location. As a result, each advisor can leverage the resources of their peers, leading to greater efficiency and value within the firm as a whole. It also ensures that each advisor is on the same page and offers each client the same high-level caliber of personalized, empathetic guidance. Everything from trade execution to account reviews to how a client is greeted when they walk in the door can be recorded in the playbook, and can then be translated into an established process that is repeatable and becomes the firm-wide standard.

By creating the “Practice Playbook,’ financial advisors are not only making it possible for them and their team to run an efficient, cohesive practice that gives them greater opportunity to retain existing and attract new clients, but they are also providing their clients with better service. Clients will receive the personalized attention and advice that they seek, and will be assured that they will always receive that same kind of treatment, firm-wide. The ‘Practice Playbook’ is a simple, organized way to scale business and also provide greater value to clients. Everybody wins.

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Bill McManus

Bill McManus  

CIMA®
Director, Strategic Markets


Bill is part of the Strategic Markets Team for Hartford Funds. In his current position, Bill is responsible for engaging and educating both financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Bill joined the organization in 2003 as an advisor consultant responsible for marketing Hartford Funds in Virginia and West Virginia. Bill earned his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation, is FINRA Series 7 and 63 registered, and holds his life and variable insurance licenses.

Bill has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as US News and World Report and Wealth Management.com. He has also appeared as a featured guest on Bloomberg Radio to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

Originally from Smithville, New Jersey, Bill attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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