The Power of Use Cases for Building Advisor Experiences 

Compelling advisor experiences are considered table stakes in today's wealth management industry. Unfortunately, many firms approach it backwards: they start with capabilities (shiny objects) and ignore its meaning and its intended role in the overall experience. They forget that one size does not fit all.

The best way to plan is by reflecting on what you want an advisor to experience or do at your firm. The vision casting exercise lays the foundation for use case development. Use cases are an easy way to drive focus and progress.

Use Case: Financial Planning and Advice

Most firms want advice (financial planning) to be a core part of their advisor and client experience. The goal is more financial planning with more clients. Plans lead to more satisfied and deeper relationships, and the possibility for fee revenue, but the process of planning is time consuming and tedious. It takes time for the advisor to engage the client, take them through the process, collect data, create recommendations and execute against the recommendations.

When we asked firms about their current financial planning process, we found that:

  • 100% of firms agree that financial planning and advice is important to the advisor and client relationship
  • 76% of firms use two or more planning tools on their platform
  • Gathering the appropriate data requires 2 to 4 discovery meetings
  • 2 to 4 systems require manual entry of planning data (CRM, financial planning tool, proposal generator, investment analysis)
  • The average time from prospect meeting to plan delivery is 1 to 2 months  

These statistics reinforce the need to pursue a better approach. Let us start by defining the current process for advisors and clients. For ease, we used the CFP process as our proxy. The current process takes time, requires manual data entry, and is burdensome for advisors. It also lacks transparency for clients.

Today's Financial Planning Process

Current financial planning processes are considered manual and time consuming. We rely on clients to provide adequate data. We rely on advisors to capture and enter data inside our systems. Many times, we ask advisors to enter the same data across multiple systems.

Ideal Financial Planning Process  

Ask yourself: what is the ideal outcome for advisors? Maybe, it’s an easier way to collect and upload data, faster revenue collection, improved consistency across branches, greater plan delivery to clients, or deeper client relationships.

We recommend being as precise as possible, allowing your team to find the bottlenecks. In the current process, advisors and staff must manually enter data into multiple systems which stifles productivity. In the ideal process, a skilled team would work to minimize manual data entry by leveraging APIs and automation leading to shorter cycle times and improved client outcomes which should be tracked and measured. A great process will encourage more advisors to adopt it over time.

Here’s an example:

Stronger Advisor Recruitment

Great advisor experiences are critical for firms that want to recruit and retain talent.

Reimagining the financial planning process by building use cases is just one example that can be repeated for each service. Do not let the breadth of advisor services paralyze your firm.  

  • Start with one or two most important services or use cases
  • Map your current state  
  • Define your ideal workflow and outcome (include KPIs)    
  • Empower a team to identify the bottlenecks and path to improvement  
  • Track results  
  • Continually evaluate and refine  
For support applying use cases to your advisor experiences, get in touch.

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