Voya Financial President Tom Halloran loves it when a plan comes together—but he likes it even better when it’s ongoing.
Voya, based in New York, is forming an “A-Team” for financial advice with hopes of helping representatives forge closer relationships with their clients through the firm’s Advanced Planning program, designed to help advisors deliver more meaningful plans to their clients and driven by a services team that can dedicate technology and other resources.
Halloran was concerned that broker-dealer representatives weren’t forming long-term, ongoing relationships with their clients.
“My view, based on experience, is that comprehensive planning is not a onetime event but an ongoing dialogue between advisor and client,” Halloran says. “I want that experience to be pedestrian for all our clients at the firm, and that’s why the team is being built.”
Ongoing planning moves representatives’ focus from a service based on product sales to one focused on client relationships. Halloran says the move was also motivated by demand from representatives and end clients for an ongoing planning experience.
Instead of creating a plan with automation designed around rebalancing portfolios or adjusting to market conditions, Voya’s plans now have regular client checkups built in, says Halloran, like visits to a dental hygienist.
“Every client interaction and meeting should have new info, some suggestions and some discussion about what’s new, and it should always be deeper than the call before,” Halloran says. “At the end of the day that’s how we’ll succeed, through deeper relationships and more knowledge on our clients, it will lead to better outcomes for all involved.”
The services team creates a structured process for advisors to follow as they plan with a focus on defining and quantifying the value of the advisor’s role.
“It’s about the experience versus providing an output,” says Michael Berry, a CFP on Voya’s Advanced Planning team. “We’re focused on how to create the continuous experience that’s adapting their plan daily through integrated technology.”
In a three-step process, the advisor first integrates client accounts to get a picture of a client’s financial health. Then, through a series of meetings, advisors and representatives work with clients to put together a comprehensive plan.