Q&A: How Often Do You Communicate with Clients?

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There are many “10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor” lists out there on the Internet. Although some of these questions may help some people discern which professional to sign up with, we prefer our ten questions as they cut to the heart of the matter. They have an obvious correct answer (“Yes”), an obvious incorrect answer (“No”), and any professional who tries to veil their answer behind marketing nuances without giving a clear yes or no can be counted as incorrect. Our ten questions should not be hard for an advisor to answer.

That being said, I enjoy answering every set of ten questions I find. I recently found a Christian version of 10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor when I was reviewing (and recommending that you avoid) their misleading directory.

Here are their ten questions:

  1. What are your qualifications and background in financial planning?
  2. What services do you provide?
  3. How does your faith affect your investment philosophy/strategy and recommendations for clients?
  4. How are you paid?
  5. How much do you typically charge?
  6. What products do/don’t you put clients into?
  7. What is your average portfolio size and life stage?
  8. What resources do you have to address issues outside your area of expertise?
  9. How do you communicate with clients? How often?
  10. Will I work with anyone else in your office?

For each question that we have already answered elsewhere, I have included a link to our previously written article. The remaining five questions I am answering in this series.

The last one is:

How do you communicate with clients? How often?

First, we publish articles on our website at an almost daily rate. We have no secret ingredient at Marotta Wealth Management. Instead, we openly and publicly publish our strategies as articles on our website. We strive to provide the necessary resources for anyone to prepare their own investment plan and meet their financial objectives.

This valuable avenue of communication is available to you as often as you would like to take advantage of it. With a long history of publication, we have over two-thousand articles and growing available for you. Because of all this content, you might be able to learn more about us and financial planning from our website than you could learn from meeting another advisor face-to-face.

Second, we provide each client with one primary advisor who works with them personally to help achieve their financial goals. This advisor serves as a primary point of contact and companion on your journey towards your goals. Advisors use both electronic communication and phone to stay in regular contact with all clients regardless of geographic location.

As to frequency, we adapt to the needs of our clients. Some clients love that their finances are outsourced so that they can get on with the parts of life that are more important to them without interruption. Other clients enjoy finally having someone as geeky as they are with whom they can talk about finances. Because of these and more wildly different personalities, there is no normal frequency.

Unless directed otherwise, it is our intentions to reach out and initiate conversation either by email or phone at least once a quarter (90 days) if we haven’t heard from you. We also strive to have one in-person meeting for local clients or one scheduled conference call for out of town clients annually.

That is our intention, but a query of our email archive (required for SEC compliance) and database records can show what we actually do.

Based on those queries, in 2018, we sent or received with one client family a mean (average) of 72.1278 emails (18.03 emails per quarter). If I group email frequency in units of 10, the mode (most frequent) number of emails a client experienced for the year was 30 (which is 7.5 emails per quarter). The second most common was 80 which is 20 emails per quarter.

The most emails for one client was 303 for the year (75.75 emails per quarter), almost one per day.

We also have several clients who do not have email. We engage entirely with them via phone. For this reason, the least emails for one client was zero.

Also in 2018, we either met with or had a substantial conference call with each client a mean (average) of 1.97 times per year. The mode (most frequent) number of meetings a client experienced for the year was 1 meeting or conference call per year.

The most meetings for one client was 9 for the year.

We also have several clients who do not like having scheduled meetings. They prefer casual conversations. For this reason, the least meetings for one client was zero.

We have many clients who live around the state of Virginia and more scattered across the country in over 20 of the 50 states. For distant areas of the country where we have a lot of clients, we infrequently try to schedule seminars or talks and fly out to visit with our clients in person.

However, with phone and electronic communications, we are able to stay in regular contact with all clients regardless of geographic location. Because of this technology, as you move, retire, or relocate, we are able to stay with you as partners through your life journey.

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

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Chief Operating Officer, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. Her most popular post: The Complete Guide to Your Washing Machine