For three generations, Valmark Financial Group® has been at the forefront of the financial services industry, working exclusively with successful entrepreneurial wealth transfer and wealth management firms to meet the unique and changing needs of clients.
Valmark has come to trust and rely on AdvicePay as its electronic billing solution. We got the opportunity to sit down with Jessica Rorar, CFP®, Director, Investments & Financial Technology, and understand more about Valmark's business and their use of AdvicePay in particular. Read on to see what she had to say.
Jessica Rorar, CFP®, Director, Investments & Financial Technology, Valmark Financial Group
Q: Can you give us some background on yourself and your role in implementing AdvicePay?
Jessica: My name is Jessica Rorar, CFP® and I am the Director of Investments & Financial Technology at Valmark Financial Group in Akron, OH. I was first introduced to AdvicePay when I attended the 2019 T3 Advisor conference in Denton, TX. I instantly knew that our advisors and clients would benefit from this technology. After coming back to Akron, I pitched the idea to our senior team. We started scoping out the competition, and ultimately landed on AdvicePay as the solution for us. From there, I was tasked with leading the roll-out of AdvicePay to our Member Offices throughout the country.
Q: When did you start using AdvicePay?
Jessica: June 2019
Q: What challenges were you facing that led you to look for a solution like AdvicePay?
Jessica: For those advisors registered with our RIA, each time they received a check for fee-based planning, they would have to send the check to Valmark’s home office to process. Operationally, from the time a client handed a check to their advisor to the time the check was cashed, it was about a 10-day turnaround process, on top of additional costs for shipping. From the other side of the fence, a client would actually need to have a checkbook to pay a Valmark advisor for services. Did you know that when you open a checking account today, they don’t give you a checkbook anymore?! Clients seldom have physical checks to pay for services in a world where credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Venmo are skyrocketing in popularity.
Q: Describe your selection process and what criteria you were looking for.
Jessica: In our search for an electronic billing solution, our “must-haves” were:
- Avoiding custody of client funds.
- The ability to eSign a financial planning/consulting agreement before a client could process a payment.
- A secure platform to house financial planning/consulting agreements and process payments.
Q: How did you effectively communicate the purpose and functionality of AdvicePay to company stakeholders?
Jessica: I had three main points that I focused on:
- Client efficiencies – Clients can eSign an agreement instead of signing a physical copy AND pay for financial planning/consulting services in under 2 minutes.
- Advisor efficiencies – Advisors no longer have to collect physical checks from clients which means NO blottering and NO cost of shipping to send checks to Akron. On top of this, advisors have a portal where they can send agreements and invoices electronically to clients.
- Valmark efficiencies – Valmark no longer needs to spend time scanning in signed financial planning/consulting agreements and processing checks.
It is a Win, Win, Win across the board.
Q: Had you implemented the fee-for-service model within your business prior to using AdvicePay?
Jessica: Yes, a few advisors implemented fee-for-service in their practices. However, the process of collecting payments was clunky. Advisors were collecting a 1-time annual fee instead of a subscription-based model due to the inefficiency of collecting physical checks on a consistent basis. With the release of AdvicePay, we now have the ability to seamlessly implement subscriptions.
Q: What benefits do you see with offering the fee-for-service model to your clients?
Jessica: For those clients who want financial advice, but do not have any assets to manage, the fee-for-service model works very well.
Q: What results and benefits have you seen since implementing AdvicePay?
Jessica: We have seen more advisors use the fee-for-service model and start introducing subscription models to their clients given the efficiency AdvicePay brings to our business model. Our back-office processing times have significantly decreased.
Q: What resources have been helpful in order for you to understand the client experience side of AdvicePay? How have your clients reacted to using AdvicePay?
Jessica: The client side is very similar to the advisor portal which helps immensely. AdvicePay also has really great resources, including a service team that is very responsive if needed. I hear from our advisors that clients love having AdvicePay instead of having to send a check for services. It is much more convenient overall.
Q: What would you tell others who might be considering AdvicePay?
Jessica: Do it! If your process today is collecting physical checks for fee-for-service OR if you are thinking of starting a fee-for-service model, AdvicePay is the answer from both a convenience and efficiency standpoint.
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Posted by Honor Randall
Honor is excited to help AdvicePay users make the most out of our platform to help expand their businesses. Having worked in the financial industry for five years, Honor has considerable experience assisting financial advisors as a paraplanner. When she’s not helping enterprises implement AdvicePay into their business, you can find Honor running, cooking, and exploring National Parks with her husband.