Get ready to go remote.
Working with clients remotely is “the wave of the future,” according to
Speaking at a practice management session at NAPFA’s
The panelists all said the arrangement benefits them and their clients.
“I travel about three months out of the year, and working remotely allows me a lifestyle I couldn’t otherwise have,” said Jones, president of Sparrow Wealth Management in
Jones’ transition to a virtual practice began more by necessity than design – he had to leave the
But new clients have embraced a virtual relationship, Jones found. “They love it,” he said. ‘For example, I have two busy married clients and it’s easier to for all three of us to meet and be productive if they are each at their own computer.”
Moore, the founder and principal of
Indeed, working with clients remotely has “allowed me to disconnect [from the office],” Moore said. New clients tend to be attracted to a mobile, virtual lifestyle themselves, he noted. “The arrangement is more efficient for everybody and gives my clients more flexibility,” he said. “I have one client who lives three miles away from me whom I’ve never seen. He’s very busy, and doesn’t want to waste time driving over to my office.”
There are caveats to working with clients remotely, of course.
For starters, all three panelists acknowledged that Web-based technology allowing both parties to see each other via webcams, particularly
The panelists suggested forgoing free services such as
Nor does a virtual relationship work well with demanding high and ultrahigh net-worth clients with complex needs and requirements.
Jones said he lost a
Overall, however, Jones, Moore and Kahler were convinced that specializing in working remotely gave them a competitive advantage, citing a more mobile population, baby boomers retiring and moving away and younger clients who grew up with communicating on the Internet.
Nor was age a barrier to virtual interaction, they said. “Grandparents have gotten used to communicating with their kids and grandkids on Skype,” Jones pointed out.
And Moore is even hoping that advisors with a remote practice can be listed that way on the NAPFA website.
Advisors planning to do more remote work should be as paperless as possible, the panelists suggested. Moore said his data was 100% cloud-based, and Jones said he found being able to see clients’ files on their computers using ShareFile was “insanely helpful” to a remote relationship.
Account-opening paperwork could be dealt with electronically by software such as EchoSign and DocuSign, the panelists said. Compliance for working with clients in states outside their own was a consideration, but hadn’t been particularly burdensome, they added. A number of states, they said, allowed advisors to work with up to five local clients without having to register with the state.
And clients from high-priced states such as
Jones said he recently signed on a client from
|Copyright:||(c) 2013 Financial Planning. All rights Reserved.|
|Source:||Source Media, Inc.|