Comprehensive Wealth Planning Comes of Age

By Edmond Walters

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Comprehensive wealth planning is beginning to gain a following because it allows advisors to affluent and high-net-worth individuals to see a client’s entire financial picture holistically—across all of the often “siloed” financial vehicles, including insurance, savings, investments, real estate, and trusts.

The Bigger Picture

A critical engine powering holistic wealth planning is aggregation technology. This technology brings together important financial information from scattered sources into a single, accessible source. Combined with a robust planning platform, this technology allows holistic wealth planning advisors to have an all-inclusive view of their clients’ holdings. More important, the advisor can manipulate the data to create what-if scenarios, plans, reports, and cash flow analyses over time.

Another major benefit of this approach is the ability to perform global asset-allocation models. Too often, each member of a team of advisors is responsible for a different slice of the overall financial picture. Each team member tends to build the same asset allocation models, using the client’s risk profile and goals. This usually means that the overall asset allocation has not distinguished between qualified and nonqualified money, an oversight which can have tremendous tax implications. In addition, various members of the financial planning team may unkowingly choose the same asset—a popular blue-chip stock, for example—as part of the overall investment strategy, which may lead to an unnecessary risk exposure to a single asset.

Aggregation and Wealth Planning

Implemented correctly, holistic wealth planning can achieve the following benefits:

  • Better service. An information and technology engine with the right functionality—such as alerts and alarms—translates into better client service.
  • Better relationships. Enhanced information and service mean stronger, deeper relationships between planners and their clients.
  • Increased revenues and assets under management. A top-tier holistic wealth-planning platform will highlight clients’ specific areas of need.
  • Increased client base. Clients want control, but they also want guidance. An approach that allows clients to view their aggregated financial holdings is a tremendous benefit.

Edmond Walters is chairman and CEO of eMoney Advisor (




















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