Our firm, Integrated Financial Partners (IFP), has a business model that actively encourages formal and informal partnering between all of a client’s trusted advisors. These usually include a client’s attorney and accountant, but can also go beyond that to anyone the client leans on for financial, business, estate, health-care, real-estate, or life planning.
People tend to have from three to four advisors in their lives when they are in their accumulation years. This usually decreases on average as people move into retirement mode, when they want to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible. Our firm is not looking to displace any trusted advisors, but we would like to be the quarterback and leader of a client’s overall financial plan.
I grew up in the world of sports and still do a lot of coaching, mentoring, and professional work with athletes, so I use a lot of sports analogies when explaining things to clients. I tell them that even though Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is one of the best of all time, and his four Super Bowl rings testify to that, he did not do it alone. He is the quarterback and the leader of the Patriots, but he cannot play defense, he can’t punt the ball, and he does not kick field goals. The Patriots’ success is the result of great coaching, superior planning, and having the right high-quality players executing as a team.
That is exactly how we see our work with a client’s other advisors—we want all of us to be on the same team delivering cohesive and timely information and superior client outcomes. So I do a lot of networking with accountants and attorneys; we work in concert with them, educate them on our process, and consult on important aspects of a client’s plan.
Our firm has its own network of existing relationships with outside advisors that is constantly growing. We also find we can prospect successfully together and put on shared workshops and events where each individual speaks to his or her area of expertise. Ultimately, we need to view wealth management and financial planning through a multifaceted prism that might include several areas of specialization. This becomes even more critical with complex cases that might involve succession issues, multiple businesses, several different family stakeholders, or complicated legacy issues.
Mark O’Sullivan is a Registered Representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and a registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Integrated Financial Partners Inc. is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.