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How Client Portals Make Financial Planning More Profitable

Chris Mauriello January 23, 2024

Advisor looking at client portal with client

A client portal is an invaluable tool for collaborating with clients for more productive, long-term financial planning relationships. When implemented properly, the client portal, or client site, is the client’s single source of truth for all their finances. It gives them an interactive way to answer their own questions and engage with their plan.

It’s not always easy to get clients involved with their client portal, however. It takes work on the part of the advisor to get clients started and keep them coming back over time. But advisors who can get clients to return to their client site time and time again are likely to see higher planning efficiency and profits.

Using the Client Portal for More Productive Planning

According to research conducted by eMoney, around 66 percent of investors have access to a client portal. However, only about half of those are frequent users of their portal. Interestingly, these frequent users experience significantly better outcomes across a number of key metrics.1

Bar Chart showing improved outcomes for FinPsych and Fintech-forward advisors in areas of satisfaction, loyalty, referrals, and trust.

Frequent client portal users show higher levels of trust, loyalty, and satisfaction with their financial advisors. They are also more likely to refer their advisor to others, demonstrating the positive impact of utilizing the client portal on client-advisor relationships.1

Clients who actively engage with their client portal enjoy several benefits:1

  • Allows them to see all accounts in one place
  • Saves time via automation
  • Gives a more holistic view of their entire financial picture
  • Allows them to communicate with their advisor more efficiently

The client portal significantly enhances the planning experience, empowering clients to take greater control of their financial journey.

Get Clients Hooked on Their Client Portal

There are a few things you can do as an advisor to get clients interested in their client site at the start of your relationship.

First, take some time to show off the capabilities of the site in your initial meeting. Not only can you drum up some excitement, but you can also start to build goodwill, accountability, and transparency by demonstrating how you’ll empower your client to meet their financial goals. When doing this, it’s often helpful to show clients how they can bookmark their client site on their mobile devices, or favorite it in their browser so they don’t have any issues accessing it.

Before a client logs on to their site, it’s also important to address any concerns they may have. Most clients are wary of giving out their personal and financial information. Take a proactive approach to talking about the security and privacy that their client site affords them—it can help overcome this barrier to entry before it becomes an issue.

Once a client can access their site, start giving them small assignments that you know they’ll be able to complete. For example, you could ask them to upload a document to the vault or even add a few connections to build up their confidence and familiarity with the site. Similarly, only give them initial access to a few simple features you know they’ll love and use. Keeping things simple like this helps minimize any possible barriers to entry with the client portal.

Give Clients a Reason to Keep Coming Back

Getting clients into their client portal is an important first step, but there’s more you can do to encourage them to return to their sites over and over.

One simple way of doing this is to send information through the vault instead of in an email. If you have to send an email, try to include a link to the client site when appropriate. Communicating through the portal is a simple way to get clients to keep logging in. But it also helps aggregate everything into one place for the client, which only enhances the value they get out of their client site.

Another easy way to incentivize the use of the client portal is to set tasks for your clients on their site. Once again, rather than sending an email and asking them to set up a connection, create a task in the client portal and train clients to watch for these tasks in the future.

As clients access documents on their site and complete tasks, they’ll become more familiar with their portal. At this point, you can start to add more features for them to use, such as spending, budgeting, goals, or even their whole investment portfolio. This will empower clients to build out their own story without being overwhelmed.

To further help clients use all the features at their disposal, you can answer all of their questions on their side of the portal instead of your side. In this way, you demonstrate the power of the tools you are giving them, while also reinforcing the value you’re providing as their trusted advisor.

Client Portals: Where Fintech and FinPsych Meet

Research conducted by eMoney in collaboration with the Financial Planning Association shows that client portals are effective in lessening clients’ financial anxiety. When clients feel less anxious, they are more likely to trust their advisor and stay loyal to them.2

Technology benefit hierarchy. Lessened anxiety drives trust, which creates loyalty, which leads to satisfaction.

This leads to an improvement in overall satisfaction. Further eMoney research shows a 61-point increase in client satisfaction when clients feel their financial advisor helps lessen their financial anxiety.1

61 point increase in client satisfaction when clients say their advisor reduces their financial anxiety

Research reveals a striking correlation: the top five actions proven to lessen client anxiety are the same actions that drive the highest overall satisfaction. Clients crave financial peace of mind, and it directly impacts their satisfaction—the two are very strongly correlated. This is where your client portal becomes a powerful tool, uniting the strengths of Fintech and FinPsych.

By strategically leveraging your portal with features that address clients’ anxieties and desired actions, you’ll boost client satisfaction both by addressing crucial FinPsych elements of the planning process and by providing a tech-forward experience.

Exploring the Full Impact of Client Portals on the Planning Process

While client portals unlock powerful benefits, success hinges on an advisor’s proactive guidance. By fostering a habit of portal use, you empower clients, streamline workflows, and unlock the true profit potential of your relationships.

To keep learning about this technology, as well as its intersection with FinPsych, read our eBook The New Value Proposition for Advisors: How Combining Technology and Psychology Transforms Client Outcomes.

Sources:

1.       eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors

2.       eMoney and Financial Planning Association, The Transformative Power of Technology on Client Relationships, September 2023

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About the Author

Chris Mauriello, Financial Planning Practice Management Consultant, has been helping eMoney clients at every level for 6 years. Starting as a Customer Service Rep, Chris’s passion for helping advisors implement and use eMoney led him to become a Client Success Coach, then a member of the Live Training Team, and ultimately to his current position, where he helps firms scale their planning services to deliver more personal, impactful advice.

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