There are a lot of important parts of a successful relationship with a financial advisor, but maintaining consistent and frank communication is one of the most important. It’s also one of the most challenging, because we lead busy lives, and the majority of our clients are either business owners themselves, or else are working professionals raising families. For that reason, it’s often hard to carve out time for regular meetings (especially during normal business hours).
Here at nVest, we’ve always tried to find ways to communicate with you enough, without making it a hassle or a burden for you. We’ve done this in a variety of ways, such as:
- Having an open, 24/7 online calendar for our clients to request meeting times when you need it.
- Making most of our communication with you in ways you can respond to when it’s convenient for you (such as email, video email, and text messages). We rarely call you unless there is an urgent issue to address.
- Providing blog articles, social media posts, weekly economic updates, and monthly newsletters for our clients and plan participants in a passive way that seeks to inform you without requiring your constant response.
All of those methods will continue, but we also feel like we’re sending too many “general interest” posts without making it specific to you, and building our relationship. We’re also, frankly, just not hearing back from many of our clients often enough to truly be of service to you.
In short, we’ve always felt it was our job to be available for you when you need us, not the other way around. This definitely has some advantages in terms of time savings on both sides, but it also means we’re sometimes not taking the necessary time to refresh your goals and objectives, review your investing and financial plans, let us hear from you how we can improve our services, etc.
As CEO Jeremy Torgerson mentioned in a recent letter to our clients, if only because of the way we work today (especially post-Covid, in which nearly every meeting is now virtual) most of our outgoing communication to our clients has become totally one-sided, and we often don’t hear back from you even when it’s time to schedule a required annual review meeting.
We also want to make sure we are reporting our behind-the-scenes activities to you more often, particularly when they relate directly to your financial plan or investment accounts.
Communications in 2024
So, effective February 1, we have decided to implement a process of giving our clients consistent, repeated personal contact throughout the year.
We know not every client needs or wants to hear from us too frequently, so we’ve created three schedules for communication:
- Monthly contact – this will mostly be for clients who request it, but also for those who have custom portfolios, complicated tax situations, are currently building or refining a financial plan, or have had a major life event.
- Quarterly contact – this will be the vast majority of our clients and plan sponsors by default.
- Semiannual contact – our 401k, 403b, and other plan participants, as well as those clients who have minimal assets or planning needs, or who specifically request less frequent communication, will be placed here.
- Annual Review Meetings – all clients and plan sponsors (not plan participants) are requested and required to attend at least one meeting with us, once per year. This is a bare minimum meeting expectation. Our firm generally requests these meetings in the first quarter of each year.
Each time we connect with you on this schedule:
- Our office team will review your records and files, and note anything we might need to update or correct. If so, you might get an email or a form to help us make sure your records are 100%.
- Your advisor will personally review your investment(s) and/or financial plan and the advisor (or a member of our Investment Adviser service team) will provide you with an emailed or video report of that activity.
- You will be invited to schedule a 30-minute check-in appointment, specifically to review the work we are doing for you already, answer any questions, and communicate any concerns to each other.
Our clients will also receive the normal communications you’re already used to:
- Communications and statements from the investment custodian and our client portal on account activity and performance.
- To-Do items in your financial plan that had been given a deadline.
- Our weekly economic update for clients who opt-in to receive them.
- Our monthly newsletter that all clients are auto-subscribed to (the economic updates are also included in this monthly letter).
- Periodic and timely news, insights and updates on our blog and on social media.
- Required regulatory communications (usually on an annual basis).
- 24/7 Access to your advisor’s appointment calendar, text message communication, emails, and phone calls during office hours.
Our firm believes we should communicate with you in ways that are fast, convenient, and secure. We therefore typically send all communications with you to your email before trying other methods, and email is our primary method of communication.
However, if you need our communications sent to you by physical mail, please let us know, and that can be accommodated.
Because we send so much email, from a variety of technology partners, it is possible some of our communications may end up in your Spam or Junk folder. You can eliminate that by whitelisting ‘nvestadvisors.com”, and by periodically checking your spam/junk folder for communications from us that might have ended up there by accident.