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If nothing changes, nothing changes

If nothing changes, nothing changes

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By Michael Topper ·
March 31 2022

If nothing changes, nothing changes

Advisers simply will not survive if they continue to spend hours preparing for each client review meeting. Particularly if all those reviews amount to a statement of the client’s position, a portfolio review over the past 12 months, and not much more. Clients just won’t see the value.

So, what kind of reviews do clients value and how can they be put together quickly, efficiently, and compliantly?

What the client wants

Quite simply, the client wants to know the answers to some or all of these questions:

  • Am I on track to meet my goals?
  • If not, what do we (you and me) need to do to get me back on track?
  • Can I do better with what I have?
  • Am I getting value for money from your service (especially if my portfolio has gone down in value)?
  • How has my investment/retirement portfolio performed?

What does compliance want?

It is not very clear when addressing reviews, but typically, it is evidence that:

  • A thorough review has been conducted
  • Information about the client’s current situation has been updated
  • The potential impact of any changes in: 
    • legislation
    • market conditions, and/or 
    • the client’s own circumstances and the client’s current financial plan has been assessed
  • The client has made an informed decision to implement the advice recommendations or, has decided to not make any changes to their financial plan
  • One of the following advice documents has been prepared:
    • ROA for no change or non-material change, or
    • SOA if there is a material change.

So, where to start?


Advisers need a software which makes the client journey a more valuable experience. A software that is easy to learn, and which can be used as efficiently in a meeting room, via a large screen TV, as in screen-share meetings. This software should enable the adviser to quickly and easily scope the client’s goals, update their current situation, and document the impact of any changes.

1. Update the client’s goals and progress

If your client does not have any goals, or, if they haven’t been updated for some time, then a conversation about goals is a necessary first place to start. If your current process is using a whiteboard and a pen and taking a photo of the whiteboard, then you should consider updating your process to include software that has a Goals Questionnaire and a Goals Tool.

The goals questionnaire should:

  • have prompts to help the client identify their goals 
  • give an indication of how important each goal is in relation to their other goals (priorities) 
  • indicate the time frame in which the client would like to achieve the goals (short, medium and long term); and
  • help the client express what each goal means to them (the client’s voice).

A goals tool, which has been auto-populated by the goals questionnaire, that can be used live with clients, should enable the adviser to: 

    • turn goals into SMART goals; and 
    • quickly track and update their goals ahead of and during each review.


Clients understand what their goals are, how they are progressing towards each goal and when they have achieved their goals. Clients who kick a lot of goals with your help are happy clients.

2. Update information about your client’s current situation 

If your existing process to update your client’s current situation and information takes more than 20 minutes of your time, then you should consider using software that has an online:

  • Financial Health Check – so that the client can warn you ahead of time what their key issues are 
  • Electronic Reverse Fact Find – so that the client can update their information at home before the review meeting


The client updates their own information electronically which in turn auto-updates the fact find database allowing you to properly plan for the review meeting and saving you 20 to 30 minutes per review.

  • Document the potential impact of any changes

The world has been subjected to volatile situations over recent times. Settling clients down quickly has become a matter of priority for advisers. Clients contact their advisers to seek comfort around their investments and whether their retirement and other goals are still able to be achieved. 

Evidence is required that changes in legislation, market conditions, and/or the client’s own circumstances have been assessed and that you have considered the implications for their current financial plan, planned for the meeting, and prepared a useful review document.

If your current process is to do all of this manually, or enter information from scratch into documents, spreadsheets, or software, then you should consider updating your process to include software that has modelling calculators that you can use live with clients. These tools allow you to prepare for the review meeting by quickly updating their Cashflow Projections to reflect their new current situation, and prepare new Cashflow Projection Scenarios to get them back on track.

If you can update the projections quickly - live in the meeting - to cover some ‘what if’ scenarios, then you will enable your clients to make informed decisions and save yourself a lot of rework.

Insurance reviews can also be completed quickly, live with the client to determine their current revised needs. Once the client’s updated data is captured by the system electronically, the Risk Needs Analysis can be prepared ahead of time or updated live, and a strategy paper generated. This way, comprehensive insurance reviews can be done in minutes.

Financial planners will need to be comfortable conducting both face-to-face and virtual (screen share) meetings with their clients, not just to keep ASIC happy, but also because their clients expect (and deserve) it for the fees they are paying.


Clients will like:

  • Seeing their financial world displayed graphically in front of them
  • Seeing the impact made when you make changes or add new strategies
  • Feeling in control and able to make informed decisions to get them back on track
  • Achieving goals
  • Seeing the value that you add to them
  • Collaborating and seeing ‘what if’ scenarios immediately and live in the meeting, and not waiting for an answer a few days later

Dr. Michael Topper, director, AstuteWheel

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About the author

Michael Topper

Neil is the Deputy Editor of the wealth titles, including ifa and InvestorDaily. Neil is also the host of the ifa show podcast.

Neil is the Deputy Editor of the wealth titles, including ifa and InvestorDaily. Neil is also the host of the ifa show podcast.

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