[Professional providers of financial advice should look carefully at the history of innovation since it can provide a proven and much needed roadmap for their future. Traditional financial services business models are under attack by new technologies, new approaches and new players forcing many incumbents into increasingly uncompetitive or irrelevant positions. The industry has been historically structured around a series of strong linear disciplines (investment, insurance, taxes) where each has spent a lot of time and resources building moats against one another. 

The history of innovation successes that moved industries forward paints a different picture. It has always pointed to intersections and cross-discipline idea sharing and collaboration. New ideas and real progress happens when diverse perspectives, specializations and ideas intersect and this is where new knowledge, insights and solutions are generated. To address an ongoing and accelerating rate of change in the industry, all financial providers need to bridge these moats of conflict, ego and distrust to creatively collaborate into client-centric teams. This is the best way to mix the latest of each disciplines’ thinking and solutions to keep ahead of rapid change and truly address clients’ increasingly complex family and business wealth needs. The future of your firm may not be in enhancing and continuing the extrapolation of your current linear services but positioning your firm into a unique cross-discipline team approach.

To better understand this intersection and the power of industry collaboration as a strategic goal, we went to Institute member Travis Jennings, CEO of FinanceCAPE—a Tampa-based financial concierge firm that has passionately been working to build strong networks of allied financial firms for the maximum benefit of clients.]

Bill Hortz: You explain what you and your services represent as being a Financial Concierge. What does that mean exactly?

Travis Jennings: The concept of being a “Financial Concierge” means being a genuine caretaker of the client in a 360-degree fashion. Anything and everything that may influence or impact their financial well-being is of concern to us. As a concierge, we are charged with the coordination, planning, and execution of how to manage the communication lines with their CPA, estate planning attorney, tax professional, insurance agent, banker, etc. Our goal is to create intersections of value through proactive planning with the additional professionals they rely on; to identify greater levels of opportunities and unseen challenges that can only be seen and resolved in co-ordination.

This is where our obligation and commitment as a fiduciary really shines. It’s one thing to have an excellent grasp on investments and wealth producing strategies; it’s another thing to manage the execution of those strategies which often require tools from other financial professionals to optimize investment results. The majority of clients we work with do not have the time or interest in facilitating these sorts of discussions. As a result, we quarterback the process for them to ensure the right questions are being asked and comprehensive strategies are being applied.

Hortz: What have you seen as client response or client experience to this approach?

Jennings: This approach brings freedom to the client: freedom of time, freedom of worry, and, most importantly, freedom from distrust. We are contending with a long-standing reputation our industry has cultivated of being transactional—“in and out” when it comes to client interaction. When you are targeting what is truly “best” for the client, you can demonstrate that by sticking around to bridge the gaps and have transparent discussions with other financial professionals who have a vested interest in your clients’ lives. This creates an enormous amount of trust with your client. The goal is to provide as much value to our client. To be the light that guides their path through a seemingly dark forest that has become the unfortunate norm within the industry.

Hortz: How does having a concierge approach really differentiate you and the services you provide?

Jennings: Being able to empathize with clients while also coordinating efforts with other financial professionals is as much an art as it is a science. This task is not for the faint of heart. Often, we contend with challenging personality types, individuals who are strictly transactional or are not interested in having proactive discussions on how to best serve the client. Our multifaceted approach allows us to create a one-stop solution that saves the client time and worry while uncovering additional opportunities that come from relationship optimization with fellow financial professionals. It uniquely positions us in the crossroads or intersections of all their financial specialists and needs.

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