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Should I Hire an Online Financial Advisor?

May 11, 2020 | Financial Concepts

COVID-19 has changed our lives and the effects will be felt for years to come, and in some cases, forever. As we migrate to more of a virtual office, one should question whether they are better served by other professionals more equipped to handle this medium. Is it time now to hire a virtual financial advisor?

When we say “virtual”, basically it means that your relationship is handled completely online rather than at an in-person location. With technology tools, we can use screen sharing and video conferencing to enhance the client experience far beyond a phone call. 

How Does This Differ From an In-Person Experience?

One benefit is that you don’t have to leave work or your home and fight traffic to get to an office. You (probably) won’t be shaking hands anyways, so the contact attribute will likely be removed from the picture. You won’t get to immerse yourself in some of the office amenities such as great coffee at the Madison Chocolate Company, our rustically comfortable decor, and of course, our friendly staff that will greet you and make you feel at home. Aside from these niceties, you will still get the same experienced advisors, software tools, and our “comfortably unique” experience. Additionally, due to fewer logistical barriers, we can offer an expanded calendar for appointments.

For busy professionals and those where travel presents a major headache, this is becoming an essential way to meet with the professionals in their lives. Also to consider, does one of the main factors in finding an advisor – proximity – is that really that important an attribute to you? There may be more important items to consider in experience, personality, and expertise. 

Is My Current Financial Advisor Equipped to Offer a Virtual Experience?

For many advisors, the answer to this simply is “no”. Some firms are still resistant to offering virtual meetings due to (in our opinion) overly onerous and conservative compliance restrictions. Others are using dated technology that may not show well in a screen sharing environment. Demographically, financial advisors are quite an older group. According to a J.D. Power article, “the average age of financial advisors is about 55, and approximately one-fifth of advisors are 65 or older.” As this technology may present challenges for older advisors not accustomed to using screen sharing and other financial software tools, we expect clients to be seeking advisors that are better equipped to offer these services.

The other challenge for clients that are explicitly seeking a virtual advisor is that the financial advisors that may be most comfortable using this technology may also be the least experienced. It is certainly not unreasonable to desire a wealth manager that isn’t “practicing” on your accounts to gain experience. 

The Walkner Condon Virtual Experience

We are ready to assist clients virtually in both of our divisions: our domestic wealth management, as well as our U.S. expat financial advisory services. Our staff is very familiar with “Zoom meetings” as well as screen sharing, financial planning, and investment management software. We offer our clients our proprietary GAPP process as well as the comfort in knowing that in comparison to our peers, we are young and experienced. Additionally, we also have a variety of trusted business professionals in our network that are also able to assist our clients virtually where appropriate.

As we all migrate to the “new normal” of a virtual office setting, we are committed to making the experience as close to our in-person meetings as possible. Perhaps we will institute online greetings by our administrative staff, or find a way to enjoy a cup of coffee together regardless of where you live? The possibilities remain endless and we look forward to serving our clients in their preferred medium. If you’re ready to explore our virtual services, you may schedule a no cost, no obligation appointment here.

Clint Walkner