More attention is being paid to how financial advisors interact and engage with their clients, and recent research has labeled some advisors as being out of touch and stuck in the old ways of financial planning. By and large, experts say, the days of just focusing on portfolio management are numbered, and that holistic planning is the future.

Aadil Zaman, partner at New York City-based wealth management firm Wall Street Alliance Group, could not agree more. Zaman, whose clients are mostly small-business owners, particularly physicians, believes there is a paradigm shift across the industry in that advisors have to give their clients a 360-degree solution if they want to work as a fiduciary.

And especially in today’s Covid-19 environment, Zaman said, financial advisors must look at their clients’ lives and understand the greater set of problems they face. “As a financial advisor, especially if you are working as a fiduciary, the key is that the more problems you solve for a client, the more valuable you become to them and the stronger your relationship with them becomes,” he noted. 

Prior to the pandemic, Zaman said, he and his partner, Syed Nishat, had been providing the 360-degree holistic solution as fiduciary financial advisors to the many small business clients they service. But the pandemic magnified the roles they play as business consultants.

“What we saw with the pandemic was that a lot of small businesses suffered," Zaman said. "Their revenues went down, their costs went up, and physician practices were no different." He added that many of the physicians who were doing elective work saw their volumes decline and their personal protective equipment costs rise.

Zaman explained that when the CARES Act was introduced, he and his staff had to double down as business consultants to educate themselves and their clients about the CARES Act provisions.

“We looked at all the programs that business owners could benefit from,” he said. “And in doing so, we believe as a financial advisor that if you can act as a business consultant and incorporate that into your holistic financial planning solution, it really helps to put you in a position to be able to help your client in the hour of need.”

Zaman said the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a lifeline for many of his clients. There also was the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, as well as certain other programs that were specific to physicians. They include the Medicare Advance Payment Program, and the Health and Human Services Medicare Relief Program.

While catering to the business side of their planning, Zaman said they also had to look at the personal side of planning. And that holistic approach, he explained, is efficiently done when there are experts on board at a firm.

“You really have to have that collaborative team of experts approach,” he said.

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