Hello, my name is Susan Galvan. I was co-founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. The last two years I've had my own company, Galvanic Communications.
The quality that planners need to bear most in mind going into 2010 is Trust. Over the past year or so, there have been many challenges to trust in the relationship between planners and clients. Not because planners themselves are lacking in that area, but because circumstances have been so tumultuous that there's been a lot of confusion for everyone. We can all agree that trust forms the cornerstone - the foundation - of the planner/client relationship.
To begin re-building this trust, we need to see a change in the industry to a more client-centered, fiduciary approach. The question is, how do we make that change from being a sales-based culture to being a service-based culture?
First, we must realize that it takes a skill set of both communication and relationship skills that facilitate a relationship of trust. Additionally, I would recommend broadening your view of the planner/client relationship going forward. We should examine how our profession can shift towards a more holistic approach, ensuring that the planner helps a client look at all dimensions of their life. Finally, we need to integrate the financial with the personal to get a better picture of what the whole can be within the financial planning framework.
If you'd like more information, go to our website at www.galvaniccommunications.com, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org