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The Adviser as Team Leader

In the financial industry, an adviser generally makes investment recommendations, manages a client’s portfolio, and often does financial planning to tie the tasks to the client’s overall situation and goals. But that is only a part of the picture for many clients and it is important for an adviser to go further and take on the role of advisory team leader.

To put this in context, think about some of the folks you know with complicated health situations. They may be working with a cardiologist, internist, podiatrist, oncologist, and a variety of other medical professionals in addition to their primary care physician. In such case, outcomes are generally much better where one professional leads and understands what all of the others are treating and recommending. Medications, side effects, treatments and timing all may conflict to some extent if there is no coherent approach.

The same can be true in handling one’s financial situation. Not only will the client have a financial adviser, but there is likely to be an accountant, an estate planning attorney, an insurance agent as well as potentially a business and/or tax attorney, realtor, or other professionals involved in their financial lives.

Like the situation with the doctors and health care, an effective financial plan will need a team leader to tie things together and help evaluate how different advice from different professionals may work or conflict. In addition, that team leader can verify that each professional has done what is needed to be done in terms of action steps. Simply assuming that another professional has taken care of things may not be enough and a good team leader will have verified that what is needed is not only done but that documentation and support is available for each step.

The last thing the financial adviser and client will want is to have an event occur and find that the planned outcome is not going to happen because some document is missing or incomplete. This runs the gamut from wills to powers of attorney to letters of instruction to beneficiary designations – you get the picture. Make sure that things are set and you and the client will sleep a lot better.

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