Offering account aggregation is an effective way to add value to your client relationships, deliver better service, and set your firm apart from the competition. It provides a window into your clients’ overall finances by gathering data across financial and custodial accounts; as well as, checking and savings, retirement plans, college savings plans, and even credit cards, mortgages, and other loans. This data is then presented to you and your clients in a comprehensive, convenient online view. Account aggregation helps provide more holistic guidance across all aspects of clients’ financial lives, not just on the accounts for which you are the advisor of record.
Clients may view this capability as a differentiator. According to a 2016 Salesforce Research study, 78% of surveyed US investors said the ability to receive a holistic view of their financial situation and history was an important consideration in selecting a financial advisor.
We share a few ways account aggregation can help enhance the client experience.
Build strong client relationships
When you can easily view your clients’ overall financial picture, you are better positioned to provide more comprehensive guidance and advice targeted to their specific needs. If you only focus on accounts under your direct supervision, you can’t fully understand a client’s risk profile or financial priorities. Account aggregation assembles a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of a client’s total assets, liabilities, net worth, spending habits, and goals.
This tool produces more dynamic and informative client meetings. By coordinating account aggregation capabilities with your portfolio modeling or financial planning tools, you can analyze spending and investment patterns over time, and provide insights on spending, savings, and investing.
Add value to your practice
Account aggregation also makes for easier client onboarding. By enabling your new clients to share their held-away account information from the start, you simplify account setup, identify assets you may have overlooked, and establish a collaborative, proactive advisor-client relationship from day one.
Fully integrated solutions streamline your back-office operations and you no longer need to manually gather and track outside account information. The program can seamlessly share data to expedite billing and reporting. In return, this frees you up to potentially spot opportunities that can provide value-added services or products to your clients.
Choosing the right tool
In selecting the right tool for your business, there are several considerations to keep in mind, including the breadth of coverage, data accuracy, ease of use, functionality, depth of integration, and data security. Here are a few things to consider:
Enhance your opportunities for growth
Used strategically, account aggregation is a powerful tool to help grow your business. In addition to providing better service to your clients’ existing accounts, it monitors and attracts additional client assets and charges appropriate fees for advice given on held-away assets. By demonstrating the capabilities of aggregation during prospect meetings, you will be able to close new accounts more easily.
A version of this article originally appeared in Advisor Perspectives.