Goal Planning & Monitoring helps team grow its offerings, revenue

Technology

Goal Planning & Monitoring helps team grow its offerings, revenue

Training and educational resources for GPM abound, and the Investment Advisors Division offers hands-on training opportunities for all levels of technical proficiency at conferences and meetings throughout the year.

Financial Insights in Tacoma, Washington, has been providing investment management services to its clients since the 1980s. Ali Criss and Dorothy Lewis, the two main advisors and both Certified Financial Planners, Craig Davis, an investment analyst, and their team of client specialists provide comprehensive financial planning services for their clients to segue them to their main practice, which is investment management for high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals and families.

But always looking for ways to improve their processes and scale for growth, the team was intrigued when Raymond James introduced its Goal Planning & Monitoring retirement planning software, also known as GPM.

“For years, we’d been doing our financial planning by hand, so to speak. The resources available to us were good, but not comprehensive and certainly not easy to utilize in our business model,” says Ali. “When GPM came out, we quickly realized that its goal-based methodology and retirement planning focus fit perfectly with our approach to providing our clients and prospects solid financial planning strategies.”

The software also allowed Ali and her team to broaden their potential client base and target younger clients.

“We’ve always been a niche firm for high-net-worth and mass affluent investors, but our ability to expand our financial planning capabilities using GPM allows us to go after young professionals, educators and small business owners who are looking for long-term financial planning,” says Ali.

Getting started on GPM isn’t as daunting as it may seem, says Ali. The Financial Planning department at Raymond James worked with her directly, not only training her on how to use the software, but also demonstrating to her how to work with the clients with the software and even how to talk to her clients about GPM and its capabilities.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of GPM for Ali’s widening client base is the holistic approach it offers to financial planning.

“One existing client, a professional in a for-profit corporation, had two different types of stock options, a deferred compensation plan, a defined benefit plan, some self-directed investments and a few college accounts floating around,” says Ali. “I was able to put all those moving parts into GPM to give him a comprehensive look at all his investments. It was the first time he had seen all his investments together in one place.”

And while having that all-encompassing view is good for the client, Ali says it also can be great for the advisor wanting to strengthen and deepen client relationships.

“I was able to position his stock options in context with the rest of his investments and perform exercise strategies on those options,” she explains. “In the past we really didn’t have the resources to discuss why we were exercising options in certain moments, what the tax ramifications are, and how it affects the overall portfolio. That to me was invaluable, and the client loved it.”

Ali says that GPM is an excellent tool for initiating the client relationship and getting them active and engaged in the planning process. And for the Financial Insights team, it has even created a brand new revenue stream.

“Prior to us using GPM we didn’t even bill for financial planning because our goal was to move our planning clients into investment management, where we get 95% of our income,” says Ali. “Now we’re bringing in financial planning clients, and they are telling their friends to come in and try us, and it is all because of this software.”

Ali urges anyone not using a retirement planning software of any kind to begin using one as soon as possible. And since GPM is available at no cost to Raymond James-partnered advisors, she recommends giving it a try first. Training and educational resources for GPM abound, and the Investment Advisors Division offers hands-on training opportunities for all levels of technical proficiency at conferences and meetings throughout the year.

“Try it out on yourself first. See what it can do for you personally. See if you can understand all the moving parts, or just call the Financial Planning department and they will walk you through it,” says Ali. 



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