Much like the ‘let’s quiz eachother’ phase of a new relationship (although not too similar, we hope 😶), the fact-finding phase has lots of scope for discovering the exciting things your client aspires to achieve with your help. Unlike ‘the honeymoon phase’, however, there is slightly more scope for boring the other party to death with endless forms (unless you’re into that sort of thing), turning the whole experience into an annoying survey rather than the stuff of vision boards.

That said, there must surely be a spectrum of fact-finds, some dull and tedious for both client and adviser (excluding those who use Onboard, of course 😉) and others at the ‘fun’ and interesting end.  

A short while ago here on the Advicefront blog, I explored the Worst thing about fact-finding… according to adviser Tweeps and friends. For those who didn’t get a chance to read it, the whole team found the answers genuinely insightful and we used some of the info to change bits of our process. So naturally, we planned to reach out more on this subject and get to know more about how individuals like to conduct fact-finds, but self-confessed “financial services web nerd” Gareth Thompson beat us to it! 

Gareth is the MD of web agency Code Potato and he posed these questions, “Advisers, how often do you receive a fact-find fully completed?  On average, how many clients do you need to chase to populate it fully?”, to a relatively rapturous response. 

Most respondents used a mixture of face-to-face meetings and remote form-filling exercises to complete fact-finds, with a few IFAs advocating meetings only, opting to fill the necessary forms in themselves.

Next Gen Planners’ co-founder and Xentum director Adam Carolan  (@Adam_Xentum) admitted, “… I know our profession struggle with this area massively.”

Drilling down on Adam’s admission, recurring niggles, such as receiving incomplete fact finds were also mentioned; steering the thread to possible solutions, including “better tech for onboarding process”. Shout out @garryhale – we just might be able to help with that one 😁!

In another instance of uncanny synergy with “retirement income geeks” and IFAs far and wide, Philip Wise imagined the same bit of financial services utopia that I did for the future (see my recent Q&A), asking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if all clients had their own fact finds, containing their personal hard facts. They could take this to advisers who could then concentrate on giving the advice around the facts rather than finding out the facts in the first place’ (@philipwiseicfp). 

Among the different approaches and frustrations, each case clearly calls for constant refinement and as much time-saving tech as possible, things we will continue to keep front-of-mind whilst we’re in the lab. The more specific we can get during the dev process, though, the quicker we will deliver helpful tools, so if a gripe keeps coming-up, please get in touch and we might be able to channel our next piece of software to solve it. 

We also want to keep the conversation on fact-finds going. Is your approach any different than those on Gareth’s thread? Have we missed anything out? We’re all ears.   

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