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The Changing Role of the Financial Planner

By Ray Sclafani | September 29, 2009

In Just the Way You Are, Barry White crooned these opening lyrics, "Don't go changing, to try and please me..." (Note: To give due credit to the original composer..."Just the Way You Are" is a Billy Joel tune, written as a birthday gift to his first wife. I just happen to like the Barry White version more.)

This song may come to mind while reading this thought-provoking article in the September issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, entitled, "The Changing Role of the Financial Planner Part 2: Prescriptions for Coaching and Life Planning"

The article stems from a survey of 2000+ CFPs...where it was revealed that 89% of respondents have engaged in some form of non-financial coaching and counseling. In fact, as much as 25% of the planner's job can be devoted to non-financial coaching.

As the article discloses, not all planners embrace this new, and emerging, role. The majority of planners surveyed do see life-planning and coaching as a value-added, and inevitable, service. However, a significant minority find this concept to be abhorrent and inconsistent with their mission...and are wary of the potential ethical and personal complications that might appear when planners tread on the life-planning ground.

The authors conclude that, like-it-or-not, planners will be presented with many more opportunities to assist their clients with non-traditional, non-financial planning. In their view, the planners who embrace this role will "realize the full potential of financial planning." For those that don't, that's OK too. Planners who put up a "firewall" that detaches them from life-planning issues can build good businesses too...that are circumscribed within the boundaries of traditional planning approaches.

by Chris Holman

Topics: Financial Planning

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