How Wahlstrom Financial Services uses Yodal to add value to its clients
Simon Backman of Wahlstrom Financial Services is curious but cautious when it comes to new technology.
“I initially saw Yodal in one of its early iterations,” says Mr Backman. “I was working at one of the larger licensees and was consulting to high calibre financial advice firms around the country and I didn’t just jump in at that stage.”
A year later Mr Backman was back at a financial planning firm, and was reintroduced to Yodal through a lawyer he was working with. “He said that they had covered a lot of ground and I should look into it again. So we got the Yodal team in and they implemented the software in a way that added further value with the new offerings, without disrupting any of our existing processes or services. Inclusion of a lawyer in the final step was the key bridge our firm required between the lawyer and ourselves, and simplicity of use was a huge bonus.”
Reduced our risk exposure considerably
But it’s not just the ease of use that Mr Backman has found important. “It has reduced our risk exposure considerably. The reason many advisory firms don’t like to have a discussion when it comes to Wills and Estate Planning is that it’s confusing where the line is when it comes to formal legal advice and the implications of that. With Yodal, those lines are solidified and as a result, advisers can be confident that they’re not breaking any rules or exposing themselves legally.”
“The reality is that firms want to diversify and broaden their offering to clients,” says Mr Backman. “Every Statement of Advice has terminology relating to Estate Planning that goes something to the effect of, ‘You don’t have it, get it done’, or ‘You do have it but it needs to be updated.’ What we’re essentially saying is, at best, ‘You should go see a lawyer, and I might know someone.’”
And that approach alone, in Mr Backman’s opinion, does not add enough value for the client. “Most clients don’t contact a lawyer and complete the required documentation. That’s not something unique to us - it’s an industry-wide issue. Clients simply don’t like thinking about this stuff so we need to make sure we’re making it as easy as possible. We cover ourselves by saying clients need to address it but that’s not offering the best possible service, it’s just fulfilling our obligations. The power of the Yodal system is that it allows us to do our job and have more control over the process as a whole, while still using our own business practices. It’s an extension of our existing meetings, and our clients are grateful that there is less impact on them.
Estate Planning is a focal point
Yodal now forms an important part of Wahlstrom Financial Services’ offering. “We have six advisers and Estate Planning is a focal point for us now. In the end, it’s about protecting the efforts of our clients and also our own work - if you don’t have long term planning in place, then it can all be a waste. The system itself is intuitive and it caters for all skillsets - the tech-savvy client or the complete technophobe, where we can run it as a face to face meeting.”
Mr Backman sees Yodal as a common sense add-on for his business. “If I summarise it: it’s a well-designed system to bridge the gap and deepen client relationships and take a deeper approach to the Estate Planning conversation that has historically been glossed over. The system is designed to capture the key info in a simple ‘follow the bouncing ball’ process that helps prevent the firm from crossing any lines.”
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The team at Yodal is dedicated to simplifying what was once complex and making it easier for everyone to have a plan. Yodal assists financial advisers to deliver and manage valuable Estate Planning services to which they are centric as trusted advisers. Try it now, and don’t forget to let us know what you think at email@example.com.