Wealth Protection

Consulting Over Sales Preferred by Advisors

Financial Industry Ushers in New Era

The financial industry often gets a bad rap. But people painting the industry with a broad, negative brush often fail to see the positive strides made since the 2008 financial crisis ripped through markets. Many of today’s financial managers, for starters, are much more engaged with clients and take a consultative approach to investor finances, not a sales-based approach like in decades past.

“I actually feel very good about where the financial industry has headed over the last several years. The financial planning field has significantly shaped the industry for the better with continual strides forward,” said Eric Braund CFP®, CRPC®, president of Black Walnut Wealth Management. “I feel there has been a fundamental shift toward consulting. Many younger advisors that we see have degrees in finance or business and are more focused on consulting as opposed to selling.”

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Braund saw the shift begin, and then accelerated, several years ago. When he began his financial services career almost 25 years ago, however, advisors prioritized pushing products over solving client problems. Braund’s broad perspective on the industry also is informed by his diverse experience in handling wealth at a regional brokerage firm, national bank, and an accounting firm. Those experiences, combined with those of Braund’s team at Black Walnut Wealth Management, add up to an advisor who can educate clients about both the short and long-term possibilities available to them.

Black Walnut Wealth Management, based in Traverse City, Michigan, provides comprehensive financial planning services to clients from across the wealth spectrum. The firm generally serves physicians, and retired business owners. The firm works with clients to correct their financial blind spots and coordinate estate planning, tax planning, insurance, and investments.

The firm works with wealthier clients to listen, educate, and help them understand how their money works. Even successful clients can struggle to understand their finances and feel overwhelmed by the financial media’s alarmist headlines and constant focus on minute market movements.

“The fear of making a mistake, not knowing where to begin, and knowing one mistake can dramatically impact your financial security can be paralyzing even for the most successful,” Braund told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview. “That is where we come in. Some of the biggest financial mistakes are the ones you don’t see coming, but we do. Helping clients avoid these missteps by educating them is a core part of how we serve our clients.”

walnut quote 500x400Braund’s team also includes Director of Client Services Kristi Laman, FPQP® and other seasoned financial professionals who came to Black Walnut Wealth Management from brokerage houses, large banks, and accounting firms. The diversity of experience allows the team to assist clients from different backgrounds, levels of preparation, and wealth.

The financial industry has shifted in recent years away from sales and towards a more holistic advisory model, Braund said. Clients need to ensure they are working with a fiduciary advisor, one who will put their best-interests ahead of the bottom-line, who will work to educate, not dictate. Savers should look for an advisor willing to partner with them to develop a tailored solution. A custom solution, not a cookie-cutter approach, is what will allow an investor to reach their financial goals and the future they set out to achieve.

Younger advisors recently began entering the industry with the right mindset. Whereas the old guard remains product-focused, the new generation looks at a client’s full financial picture, Braund said.

“I do see some differences. The financial industry has come a long way in helping clients over the last 10 years,” he said. “Many advisors near, or close to, retirement age came from brokerage models which were designed to sell products. The shift at many firms is now toward consulting, so many of the younger advisors embrace this approach. This shift is far better for the client.”

For more information on Black Walnut Wealth Management, visit: blackwalnutwm.com

Eric Braund is an Investment Advisor Representative with Dynamic Wealth Advisors dba Black Walnut Wealth Management. All investment advisory services are offered through Dynamic Wealth Advisors.


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