Many financial professionals dread the idea of filling out a fact-find. I have heard planners say they are clumsy, require unnecessary information and interrupt rapport with clients.
Yet those who learn to love the fact-find could see levels of business rise and client satisfaction increase, while at the same time shielding recommendations against complaints and FCA investigations.
Discover why making the fact-find your ally could be one of your shrewdest business moves.
1. Fact-finds open the scope of your questions, providing better relationships with clients
As a financial professional, you are skilled at finding out the key points about your clients, to determine whether a recommendation is ultimately right for them.
However, as a paraplanning company, we can sometimes see that the scope of the questioning is limited. Perhaps this is because we call information gathering meetings “fact-find” meetings, which means they can lean towards harvesting key points like a client’s date of birth, National Insurance number and details of their wealth.
If you use the opportunity as a “discovery” meeting, however, it can open up the scope of questions, making it potentially more probing, covering a wider range of subjects including lifestyle, wealth, protection needs and family in more detail.
2. Fact-finds can generate more business for you and your company
One benefit of the increased amount of information gathered when a fact-find is completed is the ability to identify more areas of need. These could be investment needs or something more specific, like long-term care or intergenerational tax planning.
Protection is one area where our clients have seen an increase in business written when they use their fact-finds more effectively. It’s an all too often missed priority area when helping a client.
Writing protection business not only means increased revenue potential for you and your business, but it could also reduce the likelihood of a complaint from clients who claim your recommendations put investment above ensuring their financial security.
3. A complete fact-find allows you to justify recommendation now and in the future
We sometimes see that financial planners’ recommendations are more led by a client’s wishes than whether it’s the right thing for them.
In other words, fact-finds may be used to justify those wishes rather than to do a deep dive into the client’s situation. This can leave financial professionals and planners open to complaints or investigations.
As a financial professional you are going to be eager to help clients with a financial need you know you can help with. Carrying out a thorough fact-find could help you decide whether their wish is a priority, or whether it is something to return to when you have dealt with a more pressing need.
4. Fact-finds protect you and your business
As paraplanners we see fact-finds that are not filled out properly with alarmingly regularity. Sometimes to the point that we even struggle to justify the recommendations made from the information provided.
More often than not, when we speak to the finance professional, they link the pieces of information and demonstrate that the recommendation being made is the correct one.
However, if vital information is in your head, and not written down in black and white, there may be no protection should there be an investigation by your compliance officer or the FCA.
By filling out a fact-find thoroughly, you can not only defend your decision, but are also demonstrating high levels of information gathering and diligence, which is likely to go in your favour should a complaint be made against you.
5. A full fact-find helps reduce business costs
Regularly, we as paraplanners have to chase financial planners and check the information provided and recommendations made.
This can be because a section of the fact-find is seen as “irrelevant”, when, in fact, it holds information we as paraplanners need. As alluded to above, often the information is in the financial planner’s head, but having to chase them for it takes up time, which may add to the cost of our paraplanning service.
Where we have worked with financial professionals to help them improve their fact-find skills, they have seen paraplanning costs reduce substantially and productivity increase.
As a financial professional you may see that as increased efficiency or reduced cost, but, either way, it’s a win-win for you and your business.
We can help you and your company become fact-find aficionados
At Paraplanning Hub, we have worked with clients to help them improve their fact-finding skills.
We can help you develop a system that ensures you and your team look under all the stones to identify all the issues and opportunities for your client. This not only protects you and your company from complaints, but ensures clients receive excellent levels of service, which means relationships last.
If you would like to talk to us about paraplanning services, or ways we can work with you to help your business understand how it could use fact-finds to better protect itself, and potentially increase revenues and client satisfaction, please contact us online or call on 01472 728 030.