How to Help Clients Visualize Their Financial Success with Dashboards

What does it mean to think outside the box when it comes to financial planning? And what do financial advisors need to know about working with clients through turbulent and volatile events, such as the coronavirus pandemic? Today’s episode will explore some of those questions.

Lucas MacMillan has been working in personal finance for 10 years. He is a Certified Financial Planning Professional and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science. Lucas manages Camber Private Wealth’s financial planning effort; where all prospects are given a financial plan before investing and all clients receive ongoing financial planning support using Camber’s immersive custom financial dashboards. Lucas also leads Camber’s data science team.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How Camber approaches building a plan with clients (5:43)
  • How client dashboards work and what their goal is (12:06)
  • How Lucas starts with dashboards (14:30)
  • The client response to recent market volatility (24:20)
  • The goal of Lucas’s data science project (30:49)
  • How Lucas’s firm has been acquiring clients (37:35)
  • Lucas’s advice for listeners (43:31)

Links and Resources:

Lucas MacMillan

Camber Private Wealth

Quotes by Lucas:

“We really wanted to go way outside the box on financial planning.”

“Just getting people a financial plan is a huge win.”

“It isn’t extremely important that you get their financial life 100% accurate the first time you touch them. It’s something that you can massage over time, as you get to know the client.”

Lucas provides a fresh perspective on the future of the financial planning industry. His practice is using technology and data science to change the way their clients interact with their financial plans, creating a unique way to attract and retain clients. Whether you’re a seasoned wealth manager who is comfortable with status quo, or you are building your financial advisory practice and want to employ fresh tactics, you can learn from the innovative ways Lucas approaches his work.

Below, we’re sharing three key ideas from this episode:

  • How Lucas customizes client experience using data visualization
  • How Camber is leveraging data to combat low conversion rates in the financial industry
  • The importance of client education and continuous marketing during times of financial instability

To tune in to the rest of the episode, find the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or hit the link at the top of this post. 

How Lucas Customizes his clients’ experience using data visualization

Coming from a background working in a centralized planning division at a larger firm, Lucas was used to communicating with clients via huge stacks of paper packed with information. When he moved on to Camber, his goal was to redefine the way in which he could display the key messages in a financial plan to his clients. His solution was to build custom dashboards for each client, visualizing their personal data and allowing them to access any detail of their financial plan with ease. 

How It Works

Before meeting with a client, Lucas sends them an adaptive questionnaire that allows them to fill out as much or as little information on their financial status as they would like to. From there, his team builds a financial dashboard that houses the information they provided, as well as the financial plan the firm has built for them. Over time, they add more information on every client, making their dashboard more and more robust. 

The complete dashboard replaces the need for a lengthy, printed financial plan that makes it difficult to find specific details. His clients are able to see their financial assets on a high level when they just want general figures, or they can dig down into any specific area to get full visibility into their wealth management status.

For example, a client can open their dashboard and check out a summary of their cash flow sources. If they want more information on a specific area of cash flow, they can click through and get details on every aspect, like salary, bonus pay, stock-based compensation, and more.

Camber’s immersive dashboards also include two key sections for client visibility: a “your control” section and an “our control” section. The “your control” section allows clients to visualize the aspects of their financial plan that they can directly control. How much should they save over the next five years? How caught up are they on their RSP contributions? If they follow the steps recommended by their financial planner, how will it affect them in the long run? 

The “our control” section allows clients to clearly see the things their financial planner is controlling. Things like asset allocation and diversification are displayed in a way that makes it easy to see the contribution the planner is making to the client’s financial wellbeing, forming a stronger client relationship over time. 

Hint: Do you struggle with collecting financial data from your clients? Consider allowing them to provide only the information they can easily access and then make their plan more specific over time. The less they have to do, the more likely they are to convert.

Client Response

Lucas says the response he has gotten to Camber’s dashboards has been overwhelmingly positive. His clients feel like they are able to participate in important conversations about their financial health because the data is presented in a manageable way. The dashboard is like a custom search engine for each client to be able to quickly access answers to common financial planning questions, allowing them to make more informed financial decisions leading to better long term outcomes. 

How Camber is leveraging data to combat low conversion rates in the financial industry

A key issue Lucas is focused on is the low conversion rate in the financial planning industry. Why are potential clients abandoning the process of developing a financial plan? In the hopes of solving industry problems such as this one, Lucas started a data science division at Camber, which works with students at the University of Calgary to fill in the blanks using survey data.

Reported spending habits from clients are often guesses; no one keeps track of every dollar they spend. To tackle this discrepancy, Lucas’s team uses microdata files containing surveys of large groups of people to estimate spending data based on parameters such as age, income level, gender, family size, and more. 

Using these findings, he is able to communicate comparative data to his clients to give them an understanding of how they match up to their peers. Are they spending more money than the average person of their age? Are they spending less money, setting them up for a stronger financial future? This allows people to fully understand their financial status and encourages them to make smart decisions to keep up with the pack.

The importance of client education and continuous marketing during times of financial instability

In the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic, clients want to know how the changes in the market are going to affect them. Lucas has found that his client base has stayed calm during this time of market volatility. He credits this to Camber’s dedication to keeping clients informed with their dashboards. 

With stress testing displayed in an easy way, clients are able to visualize their worst-case financial scenarios, helping them to understand that in most cases, they will be okay despite market downturns. Lucas stresses that times like these are not anomalies, but are to be expected when investing. “It’s not a bug in the market, it’s a feature of the market. The market doesn’t always go straight up”. 

For financial planners, Lucas sees this time as an opportunity to focus on their marketing efforts. While some people are taking a break from promoting their firms, the practices that focus on marketing will come out of this crisis ahead of their competition. He advises making a push towards digital marketing, setting yourself up for success once this is over.

Hint: Want to learn more about attracting new clients despite the COVID-19 crisis? Check out our episode with best-selling author and marketing expert Allan Dib. 

To hear more about Lucas, like why he made the switch from environmental chemistry to asset management and how Camber is overcoming technological challenges, listen to the full episode using the link on the top of this page. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher so that you never miss an episode.

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