Saturday, October 23, 2021

From Health to Family to Career Advice, this RIA Offers It

The Colony Group's platform of third-party experts goes far beyond what most RIAs offer clients. Here's how and why they do it.

Jennifer Geoghegan
Jennifer Geoghegan

Wealth advisors who have long-standing relationships with clients and their families do not take it for granted that clients share extremely personal and intimate details about their lives with them. Because of that, for many years advisors have shared ideas with them, often related to their financial lives, including employment transitions or long-term care solutions for aging parents.

It is our belief that advisors may be expected to counsel clients on much more than their finances in the not-so-distant future. We also believe that clients will be much more open to their advisors sharing ideas and resources with them than potentially any other professional in their lives.

Those who are approaching, or are already enjoying, their retirement years can expect a longer time in retirement due to longer life expectancies. Increased longevity comes with a new set of challenges that advisors can help address, including help in accessing resources that go beyond investment advice.

A Holistic Platform

We at The Colony Group have built out a platform called Curated by Colony to share an expertly curated selection of third-party service providers in areas ranging from health and wellness to career development and lifelong learning to security.

These firms and professionals have been handpicked and vetted by the Colony team to ensure that they have the quality and professionalism to meet client needs. Where possible, select Curated by Colony providers offer preferential services or pricing to clients. The Colony Group receives no additional fees for referring these third-party providers nor any fees from them for their services to clients.

Although advisors and clients have a special relationship built on trust, we have found that providing a choice on when and how the client may engage a service provider makes it more likely they will take advantage of the offering.

We have three ways in which a client may be engaged: 1. The client browses our platform and reaches out to a service party directly; 2. The advisory team recognizes a client need and suggests a referral; or 3. The advisor introduces the client to the Colony Concierge team who can speak with a client about their needs and suggest a provider.

Let’s look at some examples that can describe just how natural and, most importantly, impactful, the right referral can be during key moments in a client’s life.

An Unexpected and Tragic Diagnosis

 It’s a phone call advisors get from time to time, but it does not get any easier with experience. A client or their spouse calls to share that they have received a devastating diagnosis: A cancer has been found that is not easily treated or cured. The client is simply sharing the news and expecting some reassurance that they are financially prepared to deal with whatever healthcare expenses are to follow.

What they get, in addition to that, is an introduction to a private health advisory firm that’s adept at dealing with complex diagnoses and getting patients access to multiple opinions from physicians and researchers who could be on the leading edge of treatments for the exact disease the patient is battling. The results might be profound in that the client is quickly able to assemble a team, begin a treatment plan and even meet with other professionals, such as a nutritionist who specializes in cancer care, to manage side-effects and stay strong throughout the process.

A Multi-Generational Adventure

A family-owned business leader recently retired, after years of toiling at the business and growing it significantly. In recent years, the family was somewhat fractured, as the business owner mistakenly assumed his children, who were somewhat involved in the business, would naturally want to start leading it. He became frustrated to learn that his plans were not aligned with his children’s dreams and aspirations, which ultimately led to family strife.

When the family came to us, we quickly assembled a team of internal and external professionals, sold the business for more than the family ever imagined, and worked with the various generations to imagine how they might utilize their proceeds to do good in the world.

What the family truly never expected was access to the Colony Concierge team who connected them to a travel provider that specializes in planning multi-generational trips. The planning involved coordinating schedules and interests with family members, some of whom were now in different locations, and finding a place that could meet all of their interests. This included younger children who wanted to enjoy the outdoors, 20-somethings seeking more adventure, and the older generations who were looking for some activity as well as some time for rest and rejuvenation.

The result was a carefully planned experience, complete with pre-booked excursions, planned meals and hassle-free travel through a private aviation company. The family was so pleased with the trip that they decided going forward to plan an annual retreat.

Additional Reading: Leading RIA Adds Array of Life-Enrichment Services 

It may take some time, and some positive experiences such as the ones shared above, for both advisors and clients to see that they can share resources and ideas that are completely beyond what they had previously contemplated. For advisors intent on providing an extraordinary experience for clients, starting to think beyond providing solely traditional financial guidance could allow clients and team members to experience even more meaning and joy through their relationship.

Jennifer Geoghegan is chief of staff & strategy and a principal at The Colony Group. In addition to focusing on key strategic initiatives, she engages with advisors and teams who may desire to join Colony. She is a practice management expert and co-author of the book “Personal Financial Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs: The Path to Financial Peace of Mind.” 

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