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Let Me Help
You With That
Concierge services help advisors
strengthen existing client
relationships and attract new ones.
By Ingrid Case
The client won the basket in a charitable raffle. It was made by a prominent folk artist and was of significant value, but it
didn’t fit the client’s personal style.
So the client’s advisor at D.L. Blain in
New Bern, N.C., invited her to bring the
basket to Blain’s office. He helped her
photograph the basket and contacted
Skinner, a Boston appraiser and auction house.
“This particular client would not
have known to research which auction
houses specialize in American folk art,”
says Jeb Collier, Blain’s director of marketing and public relationships.
That’s just one of the special projects
Blain has undertaken for its clients. Like
other firms, Blain has found that offering these concierge servcies — which
can be anything from securing opera
tickets to vetting a potential spouse or
setting up geriatric care for a relative
— can be a way to strengthen relationships with clients.
Sometimes these services are a
stated part of planners’ offerings. Other
planners offer the extra services on a
purely informal basis. Some planners
offer all of their clients concierge ser-
vices; others help only top clients with
special projects. Some firms charge
clients directly for concierge services,
while others include those services
under the fee they charge for ongoing
Concierge services fall roughly into
three categories: managing transactions, helping clients find the goods and
services they need, and assisting clients
with family issues.
When it comes to buying big-ticket
items, for instance, some clients know
what they want and where to get it, but
they’d like someone else to negotiate
on their behalf. “It might be something
they haven’t done before, or they’ve
done it before and it wasn’t a good
experience,” Collier says.
December 2012 Financial Planning 67