The coronavirus hit hard and fast. Everyone is adapting to the new reality of social distancing, staying at home and sheltering in place. Millions are learning how to work remotely and use technology to socialize. And as we adapt and get used to remote tools that connect us to the world, many have discovered a new way to work with a Financial Advisor. When face to face meetings may have been preferred before, many now choose to work with advisors through technology. For those who don't want to fight traffic or are struggling to find time in their calendars, remotely working with an advisor may prove to be a more efficient and enjoyable experience than in-person meetings.
We have successfully worked with clients located across the U.S. for many years. From our experience, there are several things we have found that make it easier for clients to work with us remotely.
1. Client Portals
Being able to view accounts and exchange paperwork is essential when working with clients. Providing a client portal is a big help when paperwork has to be shared or a signature is needed. A portal is a secure website that a client can access by establishing a password. It allows clients to view account positions and pass documents back and forth to their advisor securely. Many times, this is even more efficient and easier than mailing documents. One thing to note is that the client will need access to a printer and scanner to first print, sign and then upload the signed document to the portal. Other important information can be posted through the portal as well, such as quarterly reports. Having a client portal is one of the best tools when working together remotely.
2. Encrypted Email
Sometimes a portal isn't easy to use for a client. In that case, encrypted email can substitute for passing documents back and forth. Usually, the client must install encryption software, an email plug-in, or create a password in order to set it up. When a portal isn't a good option, encrypted email is the fallback option for sending documents containing personal information.
3. Document E-Signature
Many times, we can use e-signature for signing and executing documents. It is only an option if the financial advisor's custodian has the capability. We use it for opening accounts, initiating transfers, and a lot of other paperwork required to conduct business for the client. The e-signature can be created using the mouse on a home computer. E-signature can make paperwork super easy to complete and there's no actual paper involved!
4. Video Calls
Clients share some of their most personal information and details with us as their advisor. Face to face meetings allows for the ability to express emotion, convey understanding, and personally connect building rapport and trust. Having a video call is the next best thing to being there. It will still allow you to connect and build trust as well as to see the facial expressions and read each other during conversation. As long as there is a good internet connection, we have found video calls more personable and enjoyable than conducting a meeting by phone.
5. Phone and Tablet Applications
Just like having access to a portal, having access to a phone or tablet application is very convenient. The application allows easy viewing of accounts and is another easy way to access your portfolio information and connect with your advisor. There are a lot of folks who prefer using their phones or tablets over a desktop, and for them, an application is a big plus.
6. Tracking Delivery Options
Despite the advancements of modern technology, sometimes old-fashioned paperwork is required. Some paperwork and documents require a medallion signature guarantee or notary with a raised seal. So, every now and then, it is necessary to physically send forms. So, for those situations, we offer FedEx, UPS, or US Postal service tracking for important packages that can't be sent regular mail.
Working remotely with a financial advisor is a great option for those comfortable with technology as well as those busy with work and family. Many people are now very experienced using remote technology and tools - why not consider doing the same with your financial advisor? Don't forget the other important requirements to consider, namely their investment philosophy, financial planning services, and how they earn their fee. But once you match up the financial services with the remote services you seek, you are on your way!
If you are considering working with a financial advisor who is experienced at delivering a great experience for remote clients, contact RSWA.