How Benjamin is Making a Difference

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The financial advisory profession is all about relationships, connections and trust.

In challenging times like these, advisors must prioritize regular personal contact with their clients, many of whom are understandably concerned about their financial futures.

Too often, these vital contacts are the result of inbound client calls and emails. It’s better to be more proactive in our communications. But who needs to be called?  About what? And what guidance should we offer a particular client?

Benjamin, the premiere AI Assistant for the financial advisors, has recently been trained to generate several reports that can answer those questions. According to advisors who have trialed these new tools, the result is more effective client interactions and better management of their accounts. While firms can certainly assemble similar reports using their existing tech, that can be a tedious, time-consuming task that requires accessing multiple systems. What’s more, Benjamin delivers this information to each advisor and CSR proactively. That’s a powerful advantage in times of market turmoil when the team’s attention is pulled in so many directions.

Here are Benjamin’s new difference-making capabilities:

Accounts Not Traded Notification (ANTN): This report helps ensure that client accounts are proactively maintained. In volatile times, account maintenance tends to be driven by the squeaky-wheels, which is to say it’s based on client-initiated contacts. The ATNTN allows advisors to stay ahead of things by flagging accounts that have not been traded over a selected period of time.

This function has been well received by Benjamin clients, who say it provides an invaluable backstop in this demanding environment, which has placed so many demands on advisors’ immediate attention.

Cash Balance Notification (CBN):  Does a client have cash in their account that should be in the market?  Does another client need cash?  The CBN can help answer both questions.  The report identifies all accounts with cash above $20,000 (or any other defined amount specific to each advisor). Armed with this information on a consistent basis, an advisor can identify clients who are in a position to take advantage of a down day in the market, and those who need to bolster their cash positions. The proactive nature of the CBN is extremely valuable. The daily report frees advisors from manually gathering this data on each client, a chore that otherwise tend to happen only sporadically as an advisor finds some extra time. The CBN acts like a proactive task list, monitoring those accounts with high cash levels and providing a checklist for advisors to use when placing trades.

Value Change Notification (VCN): In periods of volatility, we tend to focus on the portfolios of clients who demand attention – those who contact us and perhaps a few others who we know from experience are prone to anxiety. The VCN is helping advisors proactively identify other clients who may need attention and assurance. The report shows the simple change in a client’s portfolio value over a chosen period. This capability allows the advisor to quickly assess how various clients have been impacted by adverse market conditions and decide who may need increased personal attention The VCN can be used in conjunction with Benjamin’s communication capabilities to proactively reach out to a subset of clients. For example, advisors can send a note to schedule a 15-minute conversation with every client who has seen a drop of more than 20% in their portfolio and has not been contacted in three months or more.

RMD Notification (RMDN): This report provides a summary of which clients need to take an RMD in the current year.  The RMDN allows advisors to quickly see the amount of distributions a client has taken so far and the amount of cash in their non-IRA accounts. The report includes withdrawals made during the past year, which provides insight on client’s annual cash requirement.

Benjamin has recently been retrained to create this report in accordance with the CARES Act’s changes to the RMD rules. Using the RMDN, an advisor can identify clients who are exempt from their 2020 RMD under CARES and encourage those clients to draw their living expenses from another account to save on taxes. Such in-the-moment upgrades are made possible by the Benjamin team’s financial advisory experience and deep connections to the profession.

Growth Opportunity Notification (GON): In the current market, advisors may be thinking more about defense than offense. But this unprecedented time offers great opportunity for younger clients. Benjamin can assemble a list of these clients – using advisor-defined age ranges – and provide insights to help explain this tremendous potential upside. For example, in one demonstration, Benjamin shows how a $10,000 investment could multiply if the S&P returns to its past highs in the next two years. The demo follows up with an extrapolation of what that $10,000 investment could grow to by the time the client is 62 years old.

Advisors are using the GON report to add unique value for their younger clients and, as a result, gather some extra assets. This is just one example of how Benjamin proactively helps advisors grow their assets and book of business – regardless of market conditions.

These are some of the tools that make Benjamin a force multiplier for financial advisors. Benjamin’s ability to effectively and proactively deliver actionable client information to advisors is boosting efficiencies, strengthening client relationships and increasing revenue at a growing number of firms across the financial advisory industry. As a result, a Benjamin community is growing. The Benjamin team, which includes numerous financial advisory veterans, is in constant contact with professionals at all levels of the business. It’s a rolling dialogue; an interactive process of listening and sharing designed spread best practices and ensure Benjamin is offering the best possible solutions to the challenges of today – and tomorrow.

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