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Jonathan DeYoe: How financial advisors develop a process, plan and value proposition

As clients seek expert guidance to navigate intricate investment options, plan for retirement, or secure their financial future, the competition among financial advisors intensifies.

To stand out in this crowded market, it is essential for financial advisors to clearly define their value proposition and how they work with clients. A well-defined process not only differentiates advisors from their competitors but also helps attract and retain clients.

I caught up with EP Wealth Advisors' Senior Vice President, Jonathan DeYoe, to learn more about his ecosystem of advice. He recommends developing a process and a plan so that when something arises, it becomes action, not reaction. By doing so, advisors can enhance their credibility, build trust, and ultimately flourish in the fiercely competitive financial advisory industry.

Click on the video below to watch the full interview. 


A lot depends on what the advisor's circle of competence is – how we define our value proposition. A lot of folks are thinking that they can beat markets, and they're trading around this kind of stuff those folks are suffering in this kind of an environment. If you're looking at planning and goal setting as the circle of competence, you're doing very well in this kind of environment. 

The last three years have been very special – clients have been torn this way and that way and advisors have been trying to stay in front of it, trying to educate clients. I think the lesson here for most advisors is to always have an ecosystem of advice. It's not just that the client has a question; answer that question, because that's always going to be followed by another question.

Have a system, have a process, have something you can communicate, have something you can talk about; that works all the time. Not like, 'Okay, the market's doing this, the economy is doing this – how do we respond?' Instead, there's not a market outlook, there's a process and a plan that we follow. We apply the process and apply the plan. We're not reacting, we're acting. 

If you're acting, this all becomes very easy. It becomes, 'Oh, the thing that we kind of anticipated at some point happened, and this is how we are scheduled to respond.' Otherwise, if the world does this thing, what do we do? We should talk about this; let's talk to the advisors and figure it out. And that gets terrifying and scares the client.

So it's better to have a process you've communicated beforehand – these are the things we do when markets go haywire. And then when markets go haywire, you do the things you're supposed to do. 

As an example, in our office, one of the things we do in the onboarding process is we ask clients, or prospects at that point, what does performance mean to you? If we do really, really well, what does that mean? The client comes back with, 'Well, if you're outperforming the index,' – then we know let's educate around this.

Sometimes you outperform, sometimes you underperform. Your best hope is that over a long period of time, you match so that can't be the thing that you base good performance on. It’s not the performance of portfolios, it is the performance of relationships; it is the performance of, 'Am I meeting goals? Am I on track?' That implies you have to have some kind of a plan, some kind of a thing that you're operating on – an operating agreement, an Investment Policy Statement, a financial plan – that determines success. Are we doing the things we set out to do? Because nobody can predict, nobody can control what comes down the pike in markets or economies.

One good step that a firm can take, or an advisor can take, is working with clients so that they have this practice. I don't think there's one thing you can do. When I talk about the ecosystem of advice – you have to have the whole thing, beginning to end, tons of communication, lots of outreach, and lots of education. If there's one thing we can do that helps our clients out, it is to educate them that volatility is normal. The fact that there's a pandemic and a market response is normal. The fact that there's an election and a market response is normal. No reason to be afraid of that – expect it – it's going to happen every time we see anything happen in markets.

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