Plante Moran advisers stress communication with clientsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication is key to a successful client relationship, especially in a volatile stock market, according to the team of financial advisers at the Toledo office of Plante Moran.
“Our team has been on the phone nonstop for several days calling clients before they call us,” said Fred Treuhaft, a partner of Plante Moran in Toledo. “Our clients like having someone they can discuss current market conditions with and have a sense of comfort after talking to us.”
Business in the Toledo office has grown dramatically in the past five years. Two additional financial advisers are set to be hired in 2009.
The team’s No. 1 priority is having the advisers proactively communicating with clients by e-mail and phone to make sure they are comfortable maintaining their long-term investment strategy, said Lisa Judy, relationship manager, who is responsible for the team of nine financial planners and senior planners in the Toledo office.
“We can understand why people have some anxiety over the fast, steep drops we’ve seen in the stock market recently,” Treuhaft said. “Having the discipline to remove emotions from investment decisions is important.”
The advisers review the time horizons, risk tolerance and cash needs, resulting in a required rate of return to confirm those factors with each client. They take a holistic approach looking at the total financial picture of each client that could include investments, real estate, collectibles, estate plans, insurance and trusts.
“The allocations may be different, but the process is consistent with all our clients” Treuhaft said.
Plante Moran is an independent, objective firm that is not on commission or tied to any specific product. The company is paid a consulting fee by each client for its services, he said.
“The client’s trust comes from our independence and objectivity,” Judy said.
The firm helps clients prepare a diverse portfolio with risk reduction that comes from that diversity. Diversification offers an asset mix creating risk tolerance and mitigating some of the pain clients are experiencing.
“Any risk is a chance of failure,” Treuhaft said. “You have to be a believer in capitalism.”
The company’s client base is focused on high net-worth individuals, most of whom have already generated wealth. The financial advisers at Plante Moran help them maintain that wealth by focusing on financial security and independence, he said.
“The fast, steep drops in the market can affect that security. We help clients decide if they should take risks with their financial security,” Treuhaft said.
After careful study of fluctuations during bear markets, Plante Moran knows the market will eventually rebound. Experience shows that equities will eventually outperform bonds and through systematic rebalancing portfolios, clients can receive greater returns in the long run.
“If they can’t stay on track with their allocation and time horizon, we assist the client to do what they ultimately want to do even if it isn’t what we’ve recommended,” Judy said.
Plante Moran is the nation’s 12th-largest certified public accounting and business advisory firm. The firm employs more than 1,500 professionals in 16 offices in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Shanghai, China. In September, it opened an office in Monterrey, Mexico after working with clients there for 15 years.