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Lessons That Seasoned Financial Professionals Offer to Less Seasoned Financial Professionals

June 2020 
by Julie L. Genjac

It all starts with you.

Clients are looking for leadership, especially in times of crisis or uncertainty. If you are panicked or indecisive, your clients will sense that, so it is crucial to reassure them that you are confident and here to help. Take a lesson from experienced financial professionals, and be the leader that your clients want you to be by doing the following:  


1. Have an opinion.

About the markets. About the economy. About the future. About the current state of the union. Have an opinion about it all. Remember that your clients believe in you and trust your judgment. Use the resources from your firm and external partners to collect your facts and build a story. Believe in your story and be able to articulate it concisely. If you are confident in what you are communicating, then your clients should have no worry in trusting your beliefs. 


2 Make your clients’ financial plan the cornerstone of the conversation.

When clients want to make rash decisions, or go to cash, etc., pull out the plan. Continually refer back to the plan and review what contingencies were put into place, and why. It is very likely that the plan accounted for potential market corrections, and there is a margin to withstand some level of volatility without major lifestyle or goal adjustments.

Use the financial plan as a decision-making tool. Look at alternative scenarios, such as considering this might not get better for a year. How does that impact the decisions that they are making? Offer suggestions, like modeling the plan with your client working for an extra year, or possibly not buying that second home for the time being. See what impact some of these decisions have on your clients’ longer term plans. Oftentimes, if clients can see that their plans are not completely derailed, and they just may have to narrow down some of their choices, they can adjust their worst-case scenario mindset.


3. Help financial professionals take care of themselves.

Burning the candle at both ends will not have a positive impact on your clients’ outcomes. Sleep, exercise, hydration, and boundaries for family time become much more important during stressful times. Even taking 15 minutes for a walk around the block to feel the fresh air can make all of the difference.

Clients can call their financial professional for that trusted advice, to be their sounding board, to help them and to rationalize their situations. That is such a crucial part of the financial professional role. But have you asked yourself who your trusted financial professional is in times like these? Is it a colleague, mentor, family member, spouse, coach, consultant? Be sure you are clear on who your “person” is and, just as important, make sure that person knows what role they are playing for you. Support systems during times of crisis and volatility can make the experience so much more manageable.


The more balanced and confident you are as a financial professional, the more your clients will mirror those sentiments. There will be many clients out there who do not receive the advice and leadership that they yearn for. See this as an opportunity to educate prospects - dust off your prospecting pipeline, reach out to those individuals, and share your thoughts and processes with them. Chances are, their financial professional has not done this. They will respect you for reaching out to them proactively during a volatile time. And then, they may just become a client.

Julie L. Genjac
Managing Director, Applied Insights

Julie L. Genjac is a Managing Director, Applied Insights for Hartford Funds. She works with Financial Advisors in a practice management capacity, including engaging and educating advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial services marketplace. These range from areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable giving, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Julie joined the organization in 2018. Prior to joining the company, she was senior vice president, director of practice management & professional development at D.A. Davidson & Co. Julie’s many responsibilities included the creation and implementation of all advisor coaching and training programs to enhance productivity and the client experience. She began her career at UBS PaineWebber and transitioned to become a wealth management financial planner at Wells Fargo. She is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors and is FINRA Series 7 and 66 registered. She holds her WA state insurance license and is a Certified Wealth Strategist, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, and Registered Corporate Coach.

Originally from Bellevue, Washington, Julie attended the University of Washington where she received a bachelor’s degree in economics. She currently lives in Kirkland, WA, with her husband, Nedim.

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Julie Genjac is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.

Check the background of this firm/individual on FINRA's BrokerCheck.