Should you get your client to sign off on the Fact Find?

Would you feel comfortable showing your Fact Find or Working Papers to a client?

There was a time when the answer to that question was a ‘Yes’, but in today’s financial planning climate most of you are probably hesitant to show anything to a client in fear of misinterpretation.

We are now in a world of complete transparency and sadly everything from slight changes in body language to text messages with clients must be documented. With this level of scrutiny from the media and your licensing body, what is the right amount of transparency?

A financial plan can take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months to complete depending on the complexity of the circumstances. Therefore, sometimes clients may not remember what it is they had requested from you at the start of their financial journey, leading to upset clients and ultimately a bad experience with you and your firm.

This is why I developed a comprehensive Fact Find and Working Paper Guide that is so extensive it would blow your clients’ expectations out of the water if you were to present it to them. Now, how do you incorporate the Fact Find and Working Paper into educating your client? Why not give the client the Fact Find once it is completed and ask for sign off before proceeding to the research phase?

It’s an odd strategy. But if the client signs off on the Fact Find, you complete the research which is then presented in a Statement of Advice, and they change their mind, you will have a concrete and appropriately documented timeline of their goals and objectives with sign offs at each stage of the advice process to fall back on. A detailed Fact Find is your Plan B when it comes to clients and their expectations.

In addition to the strategy above, is to present the client with the Working Papers as a separate document during the Statement of Advice presentation. They will see the extent of research you have gone to in order to prepare their Statement of Advice and recommendations which will include alternative strategies you reviewed but discounted. It is a great value add with your service.

The client will hold you in high esteem, seeing as you have provided transparency throughout each stage of the advice process. Give it a try and give us your feedback or thoughts on this strategy.

If you don’t have this process in place or feel comfortable with the level of detail in your Fact Find and Working Papers, check out our Guides or download our free Advice Starter Package to transform your practice today.

Scott Miller