‘It’s not all about qualifications but building, maintaining and managing relationships’ says Georgina Wright, Chartered Financial Planner, at Abbotstone Financial Solutions.
In 2012 legislation was brought in increasing the level of qualifications required for Financial Advisers before advice can be given. A good thing I do not doubt. A skill we do not get examined on is our soft skills, our bedside manner.
In the last few weeks we have received the sad news that one of our clients has passed away.
It occurs to me that we are fairly high up on the list of people to contact once relatives have been contacted, as quite understandably the estate of the deceased’s needs to be valued and the death registered with providers.
We are only human and in many cases we have known our clients for some years and planned for this eventuality. And, as experience tells us, these events may not be wholly unexpected but in others they could be quite sudden.
When the family makes the call to us, yes we have to retain our professionalism in dealing with their financial affairs but also to remember that this is a sensitive time for the family and respect it as much.
By offering our time and ear during that conversation can mean a great deal to the family. Consider, we know our clients rather well, both in their financial affairs and personal affairs (their state of health, how they wish to leave their estate), sometimes in more detail than their next of kin – although we are generally not invited round for Christmas dinner. We are the intimate outsider.
My role is not just about financial planning now and for the future but also about being personable and building a long term relationship as we are with our clients during the good times and the bad at any stage of their life.