Bob Veres, a journalist and writer for Inside Information, has been an active figure in the financial planning profession since 1982. While he is not a practicing planner, he is an expert in the field, thanks to his journalistic mind and firm belief in the power of financial planning in people’s lives. Bob has always advocated for and pushed to move financial planning into the realm of a profession — in league with doctors, lawyers, and other trusted professionals. He knows the profession wasn’t always what it is today, and he’s had a first row seat to the changes in the “industry” over the last few decades.
From Sales to Advice: Changes in Financial Planning
When Bob first started writing about financial planning in the early 80’s, it was a “sales-based” service. From transactions and commissions to assets under management, he noted that financial planning was often tied to what firms and planners could sell their clients, based on wealth. He notes that, at the time, this made financial planning one of the few services that could answer the question “How much do you charge?” by saying, “I'm not sure, how much have you got?”
Because he saw the potential impact that financial planning could have, he began to advocate strongly for planners to adapt. He spoke up in his writing and in person to ask planners and firms to provide services and advice that weren’t just going to increase profits, but benefit their clients. It’s been a long haul, Bob shared with us, but he’s convinced the next generation of planners is going to revolutionize the profession for good — and finally realize the potential of the work.
The Next Generation’s Revolution
As Bob explains in this interview with Hannah, he had high hopes that his generation would be the one to change the way things were done in the financial planning world. Unfortunately, he shared, it’s easy to get complacent and to avoid change. When planners and firms have a set client base, a steady service, and a downhill roll to retirement, the drive to change isn’t there. But it is there in next generation planners.
“There are two different revolutions that are necessary for the profession,” Bob told us. “One is that the service model, the value proposition, has to shift from managing assets to giving advice. And the second is charging appropriately for giving advice.” He believes that younger planners are primed for this change because they clearly see the value in their services — and in their advice — and they’re not set in their ways yet. Younger planners are better able to start from scratch, see holes in the market they want to fill, and to charge appropriately for services that address their clients’ needs.
The Future of Financial Planning
This discussion touches on Bob’s expert insights into the current (and past) state of affairs in the profession, and we even ask him to share some of the trends and potential updates he sees coming down the pike. He explains why FinTech and technology in general are going to play a critical role in the future of the profession — but only if it advances with the times. He also talks about pricing models, AUM, best interests and fiduciary principles, and finding ideal clients. The main thread throughout the entire conversation, however, is that financial planners and advisors are the stewards of the profession, and it’s our job to show people just how much of a difference this work can make in their lives. He also closes with this thought, which we think is such a powerful testament to the work we all do:
“If you're making a difference, that means you're adding value. If you're adding value, that means you're valuable and you can charge for it. If you can charge for it, you can make a living at this. And if you can make a living at this, it's a great living.”
If you want to see how far we’ve come as financial planning professionals in Bob’s lifetime, and what the future holds for next generation planners, this is an episode you don’t want to miss.
What You’ll Learn:
- How financial planning has moved from an industry to a profession
- How next generation planners can continue to uphold the profession
- The importance of value propositions and service in financial planning
- Why niche-focused advising is the way of the future
- The role technology will play in the changing landscape of the profession
- Career paths and finding your cohort for future success
- Why FinTech needs a facelift
- The risks associated with generational inertia
- How financial planners are (hopefully) living a life of fulfillment
In this episode with Bob Veres, journalist and expert on the financial planning profession, we reference:
- Bob’s website and newsletter, Inside Information
- You can follow Inside Information on Facebook
- Bob’s annual conference, Insider’s Forum
- Other organizations promoting higher standards in financial planning: XY Planning Network, and Garrett Planning Network
You can also follow Bob on Twitter @BobVere