Communication for Financial Advisors

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John Guilbeaux, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

 

John Guilbeaux is in his 18th year of being an Edward Jones financial advisor for the Sulphur, Louisiana community. John is a soft-spoken individual with the presence that is someone you can easily trust your grandmother to be served by without the worry of him getting the best of her. He attended McNeese State University where he studied history while also working at a local bank. In his time at the bank he began to fall in love with dealing with clients, meeting new people, and the many aspects of finance. He then changed his major to Business Management then eventually receiving his degree in such. John felt he would thrive as a financial advisor because he wanted to help people with their best intentions in mind. I have had the privilege to interview John about the communicating with clients and peers in the financial service industry.

Importance of Verbal Communication

When I asked John about the importance of verbal communication he replied, “[Verbal] Communication is the most important trait a financial advisor needs to be successful. You have to be comfortable speaking to people.” The importance of communication for financial advisors is paramount to survival in the saturated markets of today. If you are not able to effectively communicate the difference in complex financial instruments to people, you will have trouble building a successful book of business. Being confident in yourself and being knowledgeable is something that many clients look for when choosing an advisor.

Importance of Written Communication

John also talks about the importance of written communication for financial advisors stating, “… mostly important when preparing to meet with a client to discuss where we believe their portfolio is heading.” Presenting your client with a clearly written report on the status of their portfolio is something he sees as an important part of customer service. Written communication is also important when receiving information about mutual funds, certain bonds, and other investment information from the company’s analysts. If the information is clear and gives reason as to why these have been selected, it allows the advisor to be able to relay this information to their clients without having to sell them on a blind investment.

Selecting a Medium of Communication

Knowing when to use formal or informal communication is something that “comes with experience”. When you are prospecting clients you want to be professional and show them that you are serious about your job. Making prospective clients trust you with their retirement is not easy by any means and showing them that you are credible takes time. Once that individual becomes your client, you can move to a more informal approach when in conversation. This takes out the advisor-client status and helps you to relate to the client on a more personal level so you can better serve their financial needs. When writing to peers, Edward Jones has a “family feel” to the collaboration of their advisors. The advisors are always in contact about various topics and this drives the medium of communication to a constantly informal approach. Edward Jones does not push for competition between their advisors and this allows for them to assist each other when helping their client.

Final Thoughts

With communication being a key determinate for financial advisors, especially those beginning their practice, John recommends “meeting as many people as you can.” The more times you can repeat your sales pitch to people, the more comfortable you will be approaching new prospects. Being told no is something that will happen nine times out of ten but when that one person says yes; you need to be prepared to assist them to the best of your ability with their best interest in mind.

 

Thomas Breaux, Guest Blogger

Financial Planning Success through Communication

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This blog details the thoughts of financial advisor Beau Williams on why communication is so important in helping him plan for clients’ future financial success. He has come a long way to get to where he is now, and he has many lessons to share from that journey.

Who is Beau Williams?

Beau Williams is a financial advisor in Shreveport at JPJ Investments. He graduated from Northwestern State University with a degree in Business Administration and the inspiration from a finance professor to one day enter into the financial planning industry..

Why Financial Advising?

Beau got into financial advising because he always wanted to do something that was “less transactional and more relationship oriented.” He had always read that it was one of the most rewarding careers, even though he said it could be stressful when clients were upset about losing money and the performance of the economy. He states, “Overall, you are helping people build wealth, and hopefully plan for a successful, happy retirement.”

Retirement

How Vital is Communication?

When asked this, there was no doubt in Beau’s mind. He says, “It is the most important thing there is. You can be Stephen Hawking, but if you can’t relay your message to clients, it does you no good.” Performance was important in his mind, but it could not compare with the importance of being able to engage with the client.

How does Communication Vary?

Communication varies from client to client, according to Beau. Some clients do not care much at all to communicate, but they simply trust him. “Ethically and professionally, you have to say thank you for your trust, but let me go over these compliance issues and the fees.” He doesn’t feel like he is doing his job, if he doesn’t try to explain things to clients.

Which Type of Communication is Most Important?

There are four main types of communication. They are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Beau believes that listening is the most important type of communication in financial advising by far because you need to be able to understand the person in order to give advice and recommendations. He says that speaking is the second most important type of communication because you have to be able to give the recommendations in a way the client can understand. However, it is the client’s money at the end of the day. Beau says, “If they want to take all of it and buy a penny stock, then you better document the fire out of it. You have to do what the client wants though.”

What Role does Writing Play?

Writing does not play a major role for Beau in his day to day activities of financial advising. He makes sure to note that one should not completely disregard writing skills because you do not want to look bad on things like a mail out. For writing in emails, it is also important to know the basics of writing and to make sure to double check before sending them out.

What Role does Reading Play?

Reading plays an important part in the financial advising industry. Beau reads daily to find out information about the industry or compliance measures. He is required to continuously study and read in order to keep up to date on continuing education courses for his different licenses.

How does the Future Look?

The industry is constantly changing with new investment strategies and regulations. A financial advisor must be able stay up to date through communication with other professionals as well as communicating important information to clients. Communication is key to future success in financial planning.

Written by: Hunter Greene

The Competitive Finance Industry

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Image result for pictures of CenturyLink in monroe la

 

Sheila Haynes had no intentions of ending up in the financial industry. After changing her major 3 times, she built up the drive and competiveness to start a career in the finance world. She studied at Louisiana Tech University and acquired a Bachelor of Science in Finance in a little over three years. While working at a Hibernia Bank as a teller throughout college, Sheila made the transition out of the banking and into a financial analyst position at CenturyLink.

A Normal Work Week

Whenever Sheila was asked about her daily schedule, she said, “It is very hectic, but at the end of the day it is very rewarding work that I get to be a part of on a daily basis.” She has become well versed in the areas on macro and microeconomics. On a normal day, her responsibilities involve recommending a course of action for buying and selling stocks based on the stocks overall and future strength. While dealing with stocks, business models must be made to assist in predicting future economic conditions.

Certifications for the Job

While getting a good degree is a main priority, certifications set you apart from the next person who is trying to obtain the same job as you. She says, “I took the series 7 and 63 exam to become well versed in investments and accounting. This ultimately set me apart early in my finance career.” There are many high level scholars that work for the Fortune 200 Company so every little advantage you can make for yourself is very useful.

Working for an Global Company

There are not many companies that can say that they are a successful global company and are continuing to grow every year in many different aspects. Sheila explained, “It has its benefits and downfalls for working in such a large company. There are great growth opportunities to rise up in the company, but job security can be an issue as well.” With expanding companies, sometimes employees become more of a statistic rather than known as individuals. “They have amazing benefit packages that include stock options, great insurance, and matching on retirement funds.” Sheila went on to tell me that job relocations was a plus as well. If something were to come up and she had to move, she could easily relocate to another facility the company has.

Training within the Job

Like most jobs that involve certifications and certain qualifications, CenturyLink incorporates on the job training that varies on which department someone is in. Sheila stated, “The programs that are in use are constantly being upgraded and new programs are being integrated as well because of how much they are expanding. There are classes that must be taken within the department, as well as tests to make sure the co-workers are maintaining the certain level of excellence that is expected in the work environment. CenturyLink and IBM also recently made a public-private partnership with the State of Louisiana to bring more high tech jobs to the local area. Sheila went on to say, “This new expansion shows the quality of employer for the company is always increasing. The training and increased demand for positions within the company is a great thing to see.”

Final Thoughts

Sheila underlined a couple main points that I took away from the interview. She made it clear that she did not get her current position over night. It takes commitment and dedication to your field of choice to reach the goals that one might have. Also she noted, “consistency and thinking for yourself are big things as well. An employer wants someone who can be held accountable and can make independent decisions for themselves.”

 

 

Cody Haynes, guest blogger