I’ve always wanted to help people. After working a number of years in retail and banking, I spent 18 years working for a financial planner who was also a registered investment advisor, and loved the way he made a difference in the lives of his clients. Wanting to do more of that, I created my virtual assistance practice, so I can work with other financial planners and advisors.
To this day it amazes me how much financial planners do on their own and I’m reminded of an article I read in Investment News titled “How to Fire Your $350-an-hour Assistant”. I wish this article were required reading for all individuals who own or operate a business as a solopreneur. If you feel that you *should do it all*, this article is for you! It explains that the time an advisor/business owner spends doing paperwork and other non-revenue generating activities he is effectively acting as his own assistant. Revenue generating activities are those where you are consistently getting in front of new clients and servicing existing clients. The rest, from scheduling appointments to filling out applications, entering info into various software programs, and billing can all be done by a trustworthy assistant. The assistant does not need to be physically present because the work can be done virtually. Let me give you two examples of ways a VA can help:
Scenario 1: Registered Investment Advisor who manages client accounts held at a custodian
A prospect contacts the firm. The VA sets up an appointment for an initial meeting. She then sends a data collection form either in the mail, email or through an online program such as PreciseFP. She also sets up the contact in CRM. At the appropriate time the VA sends a reminder of appointment to the prospect.
The advisor meets with the prospect and after the meeting the prospect decides to become client. The VA sends out an advisory contract for signature, gets it back, scans it and mails original to advisor for safekeeping per regulations. The advisor tells his VA what types of accounts the client needs. The VA completes account applications, transfer forms and other documents required by the custodian and sends them to client via DocuSign or in the mail. When the documents are returned to the VA, she submits them to the custodian and files copies electronically with the advisor. The VA monitors the account opening process and asset transfers and updates the advisor.
When the assets are transferred in, the advisor can begin implementing the investment plan. The VA can assist in preparing and sending quarterly reports and bills. If VA has experience she can do bookkeeping.
Scenario 2: Financial Planner who prepares plans on an hourly basis
A prospect contacts the firm. The VA sets up an appointment for an initial meeting. She sends a data collection form either in the mail, email or through an online program such as PreciseFP. She also sets up the contact in CRM and sends a reminder of the appointment to the prospect at the appropriate time.
The advisor meets with the prospect. After the meeting, the prospect decides to become client. The VA sends out an advisory contract, gets it back, scans it and mails original to advisor for safekeeping per the regulations. The VA works with client to get copies of account statements and financial documents, preferably electronically. She enters information into various programs such as Morningstar Advisor Workstation and Money Guide Pro.
The advisor prepares a detailed financial plan. The VA assists in preparing a report for him to present to the client at the final meeting, which she has already scheduled.
These are just two examples of how a VA can assist a financial planner and do not include all the activities that she can handle. Some of the work the VA does can be even be billed to the client, thus helping to cover the cost. Another thing a VA with experience working with financial planners and advisors can help with is making sure that securities regulations are being followed and properly documented. Most importantly with the VA doing most of the back office work, the planner has more time to service his existing clients and look for additional ones, allowing his practice to grow.
I don’t know many advisors or financial planners who really LOVE to handle all the paperwork or set appointments! By having a VA, you will have more time to do the work that you enjoy, spend time with your family or pursue other interests. You have to be willing to delegate those activities that you don’t love or that don’t increase your revenue. When you do, powerful things can happen in your business!
About our guest blogger: Pat Gundling is a Virtual Assistant and Daily Money Manager with over 30 years of experience working in the financial industry and supporting financial advisors in a solo or small practice. She also is a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers and works with individuals to help them manage their personal money management or small business bookkeeping.