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How RIAs like Aspiriant and United Capital are working to put financial planning back at the center of financial planning firms

It's expensive, hard work, hard to charge for, difficult to deliver and adds real value

Monday, April 23, 2012 – 4:00 AM by Kelly O'Mara
no description available
Sandi Bragar: I don't know how they can invest that portfolio without knowing what it's supposed to do.

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Mentioned in this article:

Nexus Strategy
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Timothy D. Welsh

United Capital Financial Advisers
RIA Welcoming Breakaways
Top Executive: Joe Duran

Richard D. Walker

Richard D. Walker

April 23, 2012 — 11:46 AM

I agree with Mr. Welsh that many advisors charge for the wrong thing. Before I was an advisor and worked for a top stock broker I didn’t enjoy the conflict of interest I often saw between what was optimal for a client vs optimal for an advisor’s paycheck. Thinking that financial planning would be a step away from that mindset, becoming a financial advisor I discovered that it often wasn’t. One of the biggest challenges, however, is creating sufficient value for your advice and getting paid your value.

Frank Reilly

Frank Reilly

April 23, 2012 — 6:10 PM

I couldn’t agree more with the plan that Aspiriant and United Capital have implemented; Reilly Financial Advisors has had a Director of Financial Planning on staff for over ten years, and we focus on helping our clients define and achieve their individual financial goals. The financial planning department and process is an investment that, as indicated, allows us to best service our clients!

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

April 23, 2012 — 6:24 PM

Thanks, Frank. Is there anything you can add about how you keep the quality of planning controlled and how and whether you are able to charge for planning? Is it a loss leader or a core offering — or something in between?


Frank Reilly

Frank Reilly

April 24, 2012 — 6:01 PM

I believe that in order to continue to deliver high-quality planning that truly increases the potential that our clients are able to achieve their financial goals, a few things must occur:

Structure must be in place. Our financial planning department includes all levels of financial planners, and our Director of Financial Planning consistently reviews all plans that are produced to ensure the highest levels of accuracy.

I also think that our clients receive the most value from the plans when they are continuously updated as their lives change; incomes increase or decrease, life goals transform, unexpected money is received, etc.

Planning is the hub of our approach. Through planning, we are able to determine how to best invest our clients assets to meet their needs. We don’t charge an additional fee for this service, as we feel it is core to what we do and how we can best service our clients.

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