Dynamic Planner is a partner in my business, to all intents and purposes, and plays an integral part in it.
It supports me in having a compliant and repeatable process for risk profiling clients and for selecting where their money is invested, in line with benchmark asset allocations for an agreed level of risk. It removes that burden and allows me to focus on the parts of the planning process where, as an adviser, I can excel.
I like the fact that Dynamic Planner has a team of independent experts who can analyse world markets and decide where each of them are in the investment cycle, and ultimately ensure that the risk and return of the benchmark asset allocation for a risk profile 5 is higher than a 4, but less than a 6, for example. Everything remains in its right place.
You can’t adopt benchmark asset allocations without using a respectively designed risk questionnaire.
They must be tailored together. My job then, you could argue, is the simpler part; carefully researching the investment universe each quarter to find, for example, the best property fund to allocate 5% of my model portfolio to. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
I first began using Dynamic Planner around 2015, so that I could demonstrate to the regulator that we were independent of investment platforms and that we had a robust, independent risk profiling process in place for clients. Without this independent risk profiling process, a risk questionnaire would have to be used from a specific investment platform and clients may then logically assume that a decision has already been made to use only that platform, when really there are more options open to them.
I explain to clients that Dynamic Planner’s risk questionnaires are designed to make you carefully think about investment risk and reward. There is a science behind how they have been created and they are continually updated to ensure clients understand risk most effectively.
When I first sit with a new client, I ask them for a gut feeling of how risk averse they are. And maybe I joke that this was the process 30 years ago! Then I say, ‘Let’s do this scientifically’ and see what risk profile you come out as, which is the beginning of a deeper conversation.
At all stages, the client is reminded that together we will reach an agreed risk profile for them, and having a repeatable structure and process allows us to measure how that can change over time.
In this light, last March’s market drops due to Covid were painful for a time, but they did, perversely, remind investors about risk and volatility and how a strategic asset allocation can create diversified investment portfolios and help mitigate risk during periods of extreme volatility. This was, and is, important and comforting to clients.
I follow Dynamic Planner’s benchmark asset allocations for each risk profile to the letter and explain to clients the average expected return each year for a risk profile, referencing my firm’s own model portfolios and illustrating potential returns from best performing funds at that risk level.
I have fully adopted Dynamic Planner’s Client Review process and, by wedding it to video meetings using Zoom, it’s changed my life! I have reached out to clients in the past 12 months, asking to complete a review remotely and they have completely engaged with the process.
It’s fantastic that I can have a conversation with a client online, share with them real-time performance data, review their risk profile and complete that part of the process with a comprehensive report.
During the call, we build an email with relevant documents and hit send before ending the meeting. My PA receives it at the same time as the client and can follow up, actioning notes the client has already signed off and complete the final recommendation process.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm? Yes, 100%. And I do daily.