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Preparing for Review Meetings

Assuming that you have your clients sorted out and coded in your Client Relationship Management (CRM) system so you can meet with them at intervals appropriate for their situation, let’s take a look how to prepare for those meetings.

The first item is your agenda. Your life is a lot easier when you have an agenda template that you can use for most, if not all, your client review meetings. Email it to them when your meeting is confirmed, suggesting that they take a few minutes to jot down anything that they want to go over at the meeting.

Your agenda should be organized to create a smooth transition from one topic to the next. Here are the elements that we recommend including.

  1. Agenda overview. Reviewing the agenda with your clients at the start of the meeting gives you an opportunity manage their expectations, as well as add the items that they want to make sure are addressed to the spot in the agenda where they fit.
  2. Personal and family update. Here is where you can get caught up with any changes in their personal or family situation, particularly changes that might impact their financial plan or investment strategy.
  3. Financial update. Are there any changes to their goals, liquidity needs, cash flow, net worth, liability or tax considerations, or estate planning objectives?
  4. Specific planning topic(s). Here you can select one or more topics to discuss that are relevant to their situation. Examples include financial independence/retirement, education planning, risk management, debt management, and tax planning. In the area of legacy or estate planning, you can discuss lifetime gifting and estate planning strategies, asset titling, beneficiary designations, and life insurance review.
  5. Economic and market update. Provide context for discussing their investments by reviewing past, current and expected future economic and market conditions.
  6. Plan and portfolio update. Review the current status of their financial or investment plan and portfolio. Discuss the progress made since your last review as well as any adjustments or rebalancing that may be needed to the plan, portfolio and contribution rate.
  7. Action items. Confirm specific action items and due dates for tasks or next steps to be completed by the client or yourself. Establish expectations for following up.
  8. Connections [optional]. Share descriptions of one or two situations where you’ve helped other clients in recent weeks or months. Suggest that, while they may or may not know of anyone who needs this type of help now, they should contact you if they run into or hear about someone who does.
  9. Next appointment. Establish expectations for their next review or interim meeting and note that information in your CRM.

We have found that many, perhaps most, clients don’t need or want detailed reporting from you on each of the holdings in each of their accounts. Remember, they hired you to pay attention to the details that they don’t have the time or interest in managing.

Use your most recent performance report to show them where they were, where they are now, and any particular reasons (good or bad) for the changes since the last time you met. Most clients will take their cues from you as to how important it is (or isn’t) for them to pay attention to the details. As long as they know you’re staying on top of the details for them, they should feel confident that their future is in good hands.

We recommend following up each review meeting with a letter or email recapping your discussion, any action items for follow-up, and when their next meeting is to take place.

Next time, we’ll look at ways to track the planning topics you and your clients discuss during your review meetings. Meanwhile, if you’d like a copy of our Review Meeting Agenda template, just send us an email.

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