In an increasingly competitive market, advisors who can offer a platform of broad, integrated services have an edge.
They know more about their clients and manage more of their financial assets. Their knowledge, not just of investment portfolios, but broader financial challenges and resources, helps them make better recommendations to clients which, in turn, creates stronger relationships.
Though many advisors now aspire to provide holistic service, few extend their services into one of the largest non-investment portions of most clients’ portfolios: banking products.
Given today’s richly valued equity market — and rising, but still historically low yields on most cash equivalents — financial advisors who can bring their clients safe, FDIC-insured banking products with competitive yields have a built in advantage.
That advantage is compounded when advisors can actively monitor banking activities on their clients’ behalf, gaining insight into cash flows, liquidity and spending habits, even as they assist clients in securing the best possible interest rates.
Still, many independent advisors, who aren’t affiliated with a bank or private bank, don’t have easy access to deposit services. BofI Advisor, a division of BofI Federal Bank, uses an integrated dashboard platform that empowers advisors with the technology and high-yield banking products to make liquidity management more transparent, convenient and profitable for their clients.
David Coles is the Chief Operating Officer at Lake Forest, California-based Wealth Management & Business Concepts, Inc., a BofI Advisor client since 2011.
“When we first started considering BofI Advisor, the market had turned down and interest rates were extremely low.
There was no way for clients to make money on their cash portfolios,” he said. “BofI Advisor offered a decent rate.”
But he added, it was the accessibility BofI Advisor offered, not just the deposit yields that really made the sale.
“They had a platform where the advisor could go on and interact with the client accounts, so that we could see the balances in the accounts. Whereas the other internet banks, we weren’t allowed to access any of the information,” he explained.
“That’s what really appealed to us, that we were able to have some type of oversight on the accounts, since we are a fiduciary to our clients. We need to make sure that if we recommend something to them, we’re able to track it and have some information.”
Coles explained that the BofI Advisor platform has become an important element of his firm’s commitment to holistic service.
“When we bring a client on, we do a comprehensive financial plan for them, which incorporates all of their financial assets, liabilities, goals and aspirations in life and how we’re going to achieve those things with their income they have now and their assets,” he said.
“We look at their finances, all of their accounts that they have, whether it be 401(k)s, 403(b)s, pensions, retirement accounts, cash holdings, bank accounts and real estate.
Then we start helping them create a plan that will allow them to achieve everything that they want. And so this is all part of that.
We know that if a client has an emergency fund or other cash holding, we can put that at BofI Advisor and get a better rate of return there than if we put it at Bank of America or Fidelity brokerage or somewhere else. It creates that safety and gives you a little yield.”