The latest client portal technology is helping financial planners create better client collaboration, leading to vastly improved planning outcomes. Client portals transform planning into an interactive journey, empowering clients and advisors alike.

By deepening advisor-client connections, offering greater insight, and personalizing financial plans, financial planners who encourage their clients to regularly use their portal will see higher retention, trust, loyalty, and referrals (Source: eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors).

Boosting Client Collaboration And Fostering Deeper Connections
Client portals are not just a window into financial data—they are a gateway to active participation. Clients can dive into their financial picture anytime, anywhere, fostering tangible remote engagement. This immediacy enables clients to ask pointed questions and make informed decisions based on real-time information, elevating planning conversations.

In this way, the traditional power dynamic between advisor and client is reshaped. Instead of being passive recipients of information, clients become active participants in the planning process. The transparency offered by client portals allows clients to delve into the inner workings of their plans, moving away from complete reliance on their advisor's interpretation. This shift transforms planning from a one-sided advisor monologue to a dynamic and engaging collaborative dialogue where both parties contribute insights and ideas.

A client portal facilitates ongoing engagement, allowing clients to arrive at meetings well-prepared, having already explored various scenarios they wish to discuss. This preparation empowers clients to grasp the impacts of different decisions on their life goals, fostering a deeper understanding of their financial strategies. Moreover, planning ceases to be a sporadic event and evolves into a continuous, living process where clients truly feel their needs and preferences are factored into their plans as their lives change.

Gaining Deeper Client Insights For Personalized Planning
Client portals can reveal the unique preferences and behaviors of your clients, providing valuable insights into how they prefer to engage in a planning relationship. By analyzing their interactions with the portal, you can discern what’s on their mind, as well as individual preferences such as their desire to independently analyze data or to model scenarios. This understanding enables you to tailor your service models to cater to their specific preferences for engagement, maximizing the value you provide.

The usage patterns of the client portal may uncover areas of interest that are not in your pre-planned agenda. Through saved scenario changes, specific client priorities and concerns are highlighted, allowing you to shape personalized solutions that are rooted in their distinct preferences and financial objectives. This departure from standardized service packages and presentations results in more personalized and impactful planning.

The beauty of client portals lies in their ability to facilitate a cycle of give-and-take, fostering a dynamic exchange of client financial data for better personalization. This two-way interaction goes beyond analyzing portal usage. When clients see how their information leads to better planning results, they will be more willing to input information in the future. In fact, our research shows that when clients feel that their plan is personalized, disclosing information actually becomes a meaningful part of the planning process (Source: eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors). What’s more, 64% of clients who use their portal regularly say their advisor truly “gets” them—significantly more than the 37% of infrequent portal users (Source: eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors).

In essence, client portals serve as a catalyst for deeper client insights and more personalized financial planning, empowering you to adapt your services to the specific needs and preferences of each client. This level of personalization not only enhances the overall client experience but also strengthens the collaborative relationship between the advisor and the client, laying the groundwork for more meaningful and impactful financial outcomes.

Driving Client Retention And Satisfaction
By incorporating client portals into your practice, you create an environment where clients become active participants in their financial journey. This kind of collaboration is key because when clients see the tangible impact of their decisions on their life goals, trust deepens, and satisfaction climbs.

The research corroborates this point: 81% of clients who regularly engage with their portals report high satisfaction with their advisors, contrasted with just 29% satisfaction from those who do not use portals regularly. On top of that, 84% of frequent portal users express high levels of trust in their advisor—more than triple the trust level of infrequent portal users.

Similar research we conducted with the Financial Planning Association comes to a similar conclusion: frequent client portal use leads to lessened financial anxiety, which leads to high levels of trust. This trust then creates higher loyalty, ultimately leading to high overall satisfaction (Source: eMoney and Financial Planning Association, The Transformative Power of Technology on Client Relationships, September 2023).

Investors point to several specific benefits of client portals that kick-start this technology benefit hierarchy, including the consolidation of accounts in one place, time savings through automation, a holistic view of their entire financial plan, and more efficient communication with their advisors (Source: eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors).

These advantages point to a mutual benefit for both clients and advisors, highlighting the critical role client portals play in planning outcomes.

Collaborating With Clients Empowers Them
Embracing client portal technology is not just about staying current with digital trends—it’s about fundamentally enhancing the way advisors and clients collaborate. Taking a collaborative approach leads to better planning outcomes, deeper client relationships, and a more engaging financial planning process.

Client portal technology has proven to be transformative in the planning process, empowering clients with continuous engagement and personalized plans in pursuit of their financial goals.

Joshua Belfiore is manager of group product management at Fidelity’s eMoney Advisor.