Introduction

A uniform process for new client onboarding is essential, according to John Vance of Vance Wealth Group writing in an article about the early stages of a client relationship. Like many financial planning firms, the majority of Vance's clients come from referrals, and word gets around about how they are treated.

Not only does it play a huge part for your clients, following a routine procedure is healthy for you and helps to keep everything tidy. This template is designed as a base for you to customize according to your own needs. You can run it each time you onboard a new customer to make sure the process runs uniformly and smoothly.

Welcome!:

Send the new client a personal welcome email

While you can certainly use examples found from other planning firms, attached below, or a more general template from Planipedia, it is vital to personalize the letter to address the customer's particular needs and reassure them that you have understood their situation.

The welcome letter should not sell anything, just thank your new client for expressing interest and fill any silence before the initial meeting.

This sample email was taken from CFP and can be used as a guideline for your own.

To

[email protected]

Subject

CFP Sample Onboarding Email

Body

Dear Mr./Ms. [Client Name]:
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. I welcome the opportunity to work with you as your financial planner. This engagement letter outlines the specific terms of the financial planning engagement between:

NAME OF CFP® PROFESSIONAL, CLIENT1 and CLIENT2

If the scope or terms of the financial planning engagement change, they should be documented in writing and mutually agreed upon by all parties to the engagement.

Please be assured that all information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential. During the financial planning engagement, I may, on occasion, be required to consult with other third-party professionals at which time I will obtain your written permission to disclose your personal information.

As discussed during our introductory meeting, this engagement will include all services required to develop a [DESCRIBE TYPE] plan. These services will specifically include: [CHOOSE ANY THAT APPLY –DELETE ANY THAT DO NOT APPLY]

· Reviewing and prioritizing your goals and objectives.
· Developing a summary of your current financial situation, including a net worth statement, cash flow summary, and insurance analysis.
· Reviewing your current investment portfolio and developing an asset management strategy.
· Developing a financial management strategy, including financial projections and analysis.
· Completing a retirement planning assessment, including financial projections of assets required at estimated retirement date.
· Assessing estate net worth and liquidity.
· Identifying tax planning strategies to optimize financial position.
· Presenting a written financial plan that will be reviewed in detail with you. It will contain recommendations designed to meet your stated goals and objectives, supported by relevant financial summaries.
· Developing an action plan to implement the agreed upon recommendations.
· Referral to other professionals, as required, to assist with implementation of the action plan.
· Assisting you with the implementation of the financial plan.
· Determining necessity to revise your financial plan.

This will be an on-going professional relationship. At a minimum, we will meet on an annual basis to ensure the plan is still appropriate for you. [This is not intended to be an ongoing relationship. The engagement will end upon delivery of the services described above.] Either party may terminate this agreement by notifying the other in writing. Any fees incurred prior to date of termination will be payable in full.

My services will be charged on a flat-fee basis [or, describe fees]. We agreed on a fee of $xxx for the first year of service. This includes development and delivery of your financial plan, unlimited email communication and a review meeting in XX 2013. Please provide a check for $$$ with a signed copy of this engagement letter. An additional $$$ will be billed at the end of XX. The balance will be payable [DESCRIBE TERMS]. You agree to pay any outstanding charges in full within 15 days of billing. Please make checks payable to [NAME OF FIRM].

Please be advised that I do not receive a referral fee from any other professionals to whom I may refer you.

[THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH MAY BE REDUNDANT IF ADEQUATELY COVERED IN OTHER DOCUMENTS]
In order to ensure that the financial plan contains sound and appropriate recommendations, it is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information regarding pertinent aspects of your personal and financial situation including objectives, needs and values, investment statements, tax returns, copies of wills, powers of attorney, insurance policies, employment benefits, retirement benefits, and relevant legal agreements. This list is not all-inclusive and any other relevant information should be disclosed in a timely manner. It is your responsibility to ensure that any material changes to the above noted circumstances are disclosed to me as your financial planner on a timely basis since they could impact the financial planning recommendations.

I have no known conflicts of interest in the acceptance of this engagement. [I am disclosing to you the following conflicts of interest: ]. I commit that I will advise you of any conflicts of interest, in writing, if they should arise.

I acknowledge my responsibility to adhere to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and all applicable federal and state rules and regulations. At all times during this engagement, I shall place your interests ahead of my own when providing professional services. In addition, since this engagement includes financial planning services, I am required to act as a fiduciary, as defined by CFP Board. You can learn more about CFP Board’s ethical requirements at www.CFP.net.

I look forward to working with you and helping you reach your financial goals.

Sincerely,



Name of CFP® Professional

CFP® Professional: Client:
I accept the terms of this engagement letter. I accept the terms of this engagement letter.

_________________________________ ________________________________

And here is a sample email taken from International Assets Advisory LLC.

To

[email protected]

Subject

IAA Sample Onboarding Email

Body

Dear Valued Client:

We are pleased to welcome you to the International Assets Advisory LLC family of investment professionals. On behalf of the entire firm, we want to thank you for allowing us to be your financial investment advisor. We appreciate the confidence you’ve shown by selecting us and we will endeavor to
reinforce that trust in our service to you. We look forward to a long and professional relationship.

For additional information about International Assets Advisory, please feel free to visit our website at www.iaac.com. In addition to learning more about the firm and our team, we post our complete Business
Continuity Policy which outlines the steps we take to be available to you even in the unlikely event the office has to close temporarily due to an emergency situation such as a hurricane or terrorist attack. If you do not have a computer, we will mail you a copy upon your request. As member of FINRA, we are required to provide you with a copy of our Privacy Policy which details the
steps we take to protect the confidential information we receive from and about you and our other clients.

If you would like information about SIPC, including the SIPC brochure, you may contact SIPC at (202)-
371-8300, Web site: www.sipc.org

Address: Securities Investor Protection Corp. 805
15th Street,
N.W. Suite 800
Washington DC 20005-221

Fax (202)371-6728 or Email: [email protected]

Please find attached a new customer package which includes a copy of your account paperwork, Disclosure Statement and other documentation in accordance with the rules and regulations governing the
Securities Industry. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your account representative at your earliest convenience.

Again, thank you for becoming one of our valued clients.

Sincerely,

Edward Cofrancesco
President

Your client will likely be as excited as you are to meet and discuss their financial situation. Find out a good time and hash out the agenda. Items to include:

  • Introduction
  • Understand client's needs and goals
  • Explain your own approach
  • Understand the current situation
  • Determine the best-fit financial service
  • Outline fees
  • Agree on the next steps

Mark McKenna Little's blog for advisors says 'only when they focus on what’s most important to them, will you be able to help your ideal clients create the financial roadmap to get them where they want to go'. Mark suggests the first question you should ask is 'what's important about money to you?'.

An alternative way to formulate a meeting is also suggested by Dan Richards, who tells of an advisor who 'starts by asking clients what questions they’d like to cover, then adds her own items to deal with (often emerging from those goals she’s written down) and from that creates an agenda, which she emails to clients beforehand and which is tabled at the start of the meeting.'

You should call them over the phone to get a good time for them and then send them an invite to add the event to their Google Calendar.

Attach directions to office and parking information

Ideally available on your website, you should attach directions, an embedded Google Maps with a location pin and parking locations.

The image below shows a good example from Baltimore Washington Financial Advisors.

Confirm the agenda and the meeting time

Give the client a quick call (follow up with an email with all the info if they don't answer) to finalize the meeting time and agenda, giving them a last opportunity to change something and letting you know whether they are or aren't coming.

Automate this process using Boomerang, a client for Gmail that allows you to schedule emails. Also, set a reminder in your CRM or calendar to confirm one day ahead of the planned time.

First Meeting:

Tell the receptionist to expect a new client

Make sure they know to be extra helpful and make a good impression on your new client.

During the meeting:

Stop after each item on the agenda

Remember the purpose of the meeting; stop after each item, take questions and review the meeting so far.

Questionnaire

Request your client fills in your standard questionnaire. This method is likely the most efficient method of gathering the largest amount of information with the least effort on your part. It will profile you client and help you respond to their needs based on their situation.

If you haven't yet got a final questionnaire written for these purposes, have a look at this example from The Financial Advisors. It relies on both documentation and opinion-based responses so you can see how their perceptions measure up to reality.

Another sample questionnaire is available here.

To create your own questionnaire you can use Wufoo or Survey Monkey.

Review current situation

Goal review:

  • Assess short-term, long-term, discretionary and non-discretionary goals.
  • Ensure client focus is first before entering into the market overview.

Market review:

  • Create context prior to any discussion of investments
  • Review macro- and micro-economic environment
  • Review all relevant equity and fixed-income markets

Investment review:

  • Portfolio performance
  • Net of fees
  • Against goals
  • Seek agreement and understanding
  • Discuss any changes to portfolios or managers

Total asset review:

  • Evaluate outside assets
  • Outline your capabilities
  • Make recommendations

Non-investment review:

  • Insurance
  • Legacy
  • Philanthropy
  • Education

Sign up with eMoney

Either during the meeting in person or online (try a webinar), provide login credentials for any kind of internal company portals and tools. 

Directly after first meeting:

Summarize the meeting's outcomes

Take notes for you and your team regarding the progress of the meeting. Include the questionnaire and other documentation gathered from the client so far.

Email your client - - send in eMoney

  • No later than 2-3 business days following meeting
  • Review main points covered in meeting
  • List all action steps
  • Identify who will do what by when
  • Encourage client to respond with changes or additional thoughts

Source

To

[email protected]

Subject

Example Follow up Email

Body

Dear [NAME, ex. Seam Peterson],

I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and took careful note of your requirements in selecting [YOUR OCCUPATION, ex. Legal Counsel].
I believe very strongly that [Company’s Name, ex. Larson & Co.] can provide you with the level of service you expect and deserve and that we can establish a solid relationship with you. I welcome the opportunity to be of service to you in any way whatsoever, and look forward to meeting with you again.
I would be pleased to set up a lunch with my colleagues, as well as yourself and any colleagues you would like to bring along.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Yours faithfully,

[SENDER’S NAME, ex. Bob Travolta]

Source

Post handwritten thank-you note

The power of a handwritten note cannot be overstated. Outside of providing real results for your client, which you should be doing already, there's not much you can do to provide great customer service aside from personal communication. The handwritten note is the king of personal communication and the best way to show your customers you care.

Discuss the best course of action with the team

You and your team should all be on the same page before getting to work on investments or further financial advice. Schedule a meeting to ensure this is the case.

One week later:

Follow up regarding any missing information in the questionnaire

Depending on the size of the gaps, you might want to do this over the phone or in person.

One month later:

Review account statements together

Look over the client's account and make sure everything is on schedule.

Get feedback regarding your onboarding process

Create a survey using Wufoo or Survey Monkey and ask your client to fill it in so you can improve their experience and the experience of others.

Six months later:

Personal account review

Look over the client's account and make notes of anything that might need to be addressed during the coming meeting. 

Schedule a meeting with your client.

You should call them over the phone to get a good time for them and then send them an invite to add the event to their Google Calendar.

Performance report meeting

Using the guidelines in 'Review current situation', assess whether the goals have been met. 

One year on:....:

One year thank you card

Write a personal note to your client thanking them for a full year of service and for any referrals they may have made.

Schedule a meeting with your client

You should call them over the phone to get a good time for them and then send them an invite to add the event to their Google Calendar.

Review of the past and present plans

See 'Review current situations', holding a meeting to discuss progress and goal outcomes.

Formulate a plan for the future

Based on the previous review, discuss what worked for the client and plan to take steps in the future to maintain or improve success and happiness.

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