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The Past, Present, and Future of Planning

Demystifying wealth management as planning becomes ultra-personalized and financial technology disrupts old paradigms


Within the world of wealth management, few things are more coveted than the depth and versatility of a team’s planning process. Throughout this article we will demystify the planning process and share our thoughts on current trends that can be extracted from the past and present to provide insights about the future of planning and how elite teams approach this important subject matter.

Unfortunately, there is a long history in our industry of using financial and estate planning to create some sense of urgency to buy a particular product or strategy. High-pressure salespeople were very skilled (and still are) at using rudimentary illustrations and simple charts in an effort to justify the sale of a product that often served to enhance the advisor’s bank account more than the client who was buying the product. Maybe you have some recollection of going through this exercise many years back. If so, you likely recall how most of these plans pointed you to a particular product with high fees, a lot of complexity, and a story that always sounded too good to be true. Whether an annuity, proprietary fund, or some insurance policy, the commission the “salesperson” earned was often more important than the benefits delivered to the client. This dynamic is still present today, unfortunately, but regulators have made it more difficult for advisors and their companies to engage in such tactics.

Many financial plans presented in the past were nothing more than slick presentations telling a story that always led to a product sale. The starting point was typically a future goal (often unattainable) and a simple scenario: how much money you needed to invest, and how much insurance you needed to back it up. This was usually combined with an overly simplified suitability determination questionnaire that “pigeonholed” you into a specific allocation or firm-owned product.




Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. does not provide legal or tax advice, but will work with your other advisors to assure your needs are addressed. The opinions of the author expressed herein are subject to change without notice and do not necessarily reflect those of the Firm. Additional information is available upon request. Investors should review potential investments with their financial advisor for the appropriateness of that investment with their investment objectives, risk tolerances and financial circumstances.

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