The Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest rule (more commonly known as the fiduciary rule) shook the industry in April 2016. According to Fidelity’s survey, “Expectations of Upcoming DOL Ruling:”

  • 73% of advisors are concerned the rule will have an adverse impact on how they do business;
  • 71% anticipate increased client frustration; and
  • 66% plan to reevaluate the products they recommend.

Many advisory firms re-evaluating their service models, the products they offer, and how they conduct business. And as we approach the implementation date for this ruling, concerned advisors must how this impacts their marketing.

The fiduciary rule covers a number of changes, but there are five main points that correlate with your marketing:

1. Recordkeeping

Recordkeeping is more important than ever to ensure you have proof of how you’re working with your clients and that you’re following regulations and privacy laws. The last thing advisors want to bother with is more paperwork. Instead of wasting more time filling out forms, look to invest in technology to ensure compliance. Investing in improved workflow can help reduce the rule’s new costs and time requirements.

The two essential tools to use for improved recordkeeping and workflow are a CRM and marketing automation platform. In terms of CRMs, Salesforce Shield and Redtail Tailwag are the top two choices and both have taken additional measures to ensure they’re compliant.

2. Fact-Finding Process

Your fact-finding and client process is a big piece of the fiduciary rule. You’ll need to show that you undergo the same fact-finding process for all clients and gather the same information before taking the next step.

Your CRM and financial planning software go hand-in-hand to help you create a more dynamic fact-finding process. Technology ensures you conduct the same in-depth investigation for all clients, as you can document each step and store each piece of new information.

We’ve already touched on CRMs, so here we’ll focus on financial software and robo-advisor tools. Incorporate and embed these tech tools into your website so you can start gathering info about clients and prospects right away. These tools also help you continuously build your arsenal of client data. Advisors seeking ways to compete with robo-advisors are choosing white label automated advisory platforms, which streamline the investment management portion of the advisor’s practice.

3. Transparency

Transparency is an essential characteristic of being a fiduciary. The best place to highlight your transparency is on your website and in your content.

The five most important pages on a website (and the ones that most site visitors look at) are the homepage, about page, services page, contact page, and blog. Give these pages the most attention and be open about who you are, what you do, and how you work.

With something as personal as financial planning and investing, people want to know who you are before they partner with you. Share the story of why you became an advisor, what the goals of your firm are, the types of clients you serve, and your service specialties. Don’t forget to include a few images, including your headshot and a picture of your team and office. These pages are your opportunity to prove your legitimacy and share why a client should choose you over the competition.

With the new DoL fiduciary ruling, this is an ideal time to highlight your fiduciary responsibilities, particularly if you’re an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® or hold another designation that exemplifies your commitment to upholding high ethical standards.

4. Content Shift

In light of the DoL changes, you’ll need to reevaluate the content currently on your site and what you continue putting forward. You’ll need to move away from product-specific videos and articles and use DoL-friendly content that highlights risk versus reward, goals-based strategies, and understanding the fees you’re paying.

If you use a marketing platform that provides content, consider where they’re getting that content and if it’s appropriate post-DoL. For example, at FMG Suite, our content library contains FINRA-reviewed content that will be inline with the DoL requirements.

5. Education and Communication

Educating your clients helps you emphasize your knowledge, and further establish your legitimacy and experience — both of which are crucial in light of the fiduciary rule. There are many avenues available to keep your clients and prospects educated and engaged. Consider using social media, blogs, client events, and your website resources to keep the advisor-client channel open.

Make sure you continuously engage with your clients to help you gather more information and keep their strategies updated and aligned with their needs. A personal touch sets you apart from the robo-advisor and broker crowd.

Going Forward

Change is inevitable in this industry. As you plan for business in a post-DoL world, use these changes as an opportunity to boost your marketing and distinguish yourself from the competition.

If you want to learn more about the DoL rule’s impact on your marketing, tune into our broadcast hosted by our CEO, Craig Faulkner, and our Vice President of Compliance, Mike Woods.

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