Wednesday, 24 October 2018 10:51

Dan Atkinson: What is the purpose of Financial Planning?

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Paraplanner Dan Atkinson of EQ Investors Paraplanner Dan Atkinson of EQ Investors

What exactly is the purpose of Financial Planning? How do we represent it to the public? Why should they feel compelled to engage and pay fees for it? What is the value? I’m not going to go deeply philosophical on you – don’t worry! But what is it that we do? What purpose – economic, social, or other – do we serve? If we aren’t clear in our own minds how can we help clients to realise the importance of what we do.

At the Paraplanner Powwow in September, Joe Craig from Quietroom challenged attendees that we need to understand our purpose. What problem do we solve? Clearly the way we need to communicate this depends on our audience.

One framework that seems to help is a ladder. At the top of the ladder we have our high-level purpose. What problem do we solve? At the bottom of the ladder we have the specific tasks that we do. In between is, well, a bit of both. Depending on the audience and the context we might start on a different rung and move around in different directions as we bring in more detail or more context.


At the very highest level (top rung) Financial Planning is about enabling people to turn dreams into reality. What we do (bottom rung) is set up protection, pensions and investments (as needed), and review them. I felt some of you wince when I explained the first one. A few steps down might be more comfortable. To me, Financial Planning is about helping people deal with the intersection between life and money. In the planning process we step up the rungs to understand a client’s real objectives and then descend into the detail of plans/products/investments etc.

Once we are clear about how our ladder works we will be much better placed to explain why what we do is important. Think about where to engage your audience on the ladder and help them to understand the bigger picture. Their initial interest may be with dealing with a specific problem and that should be addressed first. As we engage with them we can show our purpose, value and the importance of Financial Planning.

Dan Atkinson FPFS MCSI APP is a Chartered Financial Planner and is head of technical at EQ Investors in London. @DanAtkinsonUK. e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Read 2579 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 October 2018 10:57
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