Goal Based Planning. A more holistic way to service your clients

Wealth Management and Private Banking

17 November 2022

Client ExperienceGoals-based planningInvestmentsMeeting of MindsTechnologyTrainingWealth Management and Private Banking

Expert: Iwan Schafthuizen (Managing Director Business Development, Ortec Finance) Facilitator: Shelley Doorey Williams (Partner, Consulting, KPMG)


  1. Goal-based investing is a specific type of investment strategy that uses investing to work toward meeting personal financial goals
  2. Investment advice has become more commoditised, and clients have become more digitally savvy, meaning more emphasis has been placed on the need for a more client-centric wealth management approach
  3. Customers expect a hyper-personalised service and value holistic advice to achieve multiple, often conflicting goals. Goal-based planning is key to this, but it can place a heavy burden on advisors, despite AI helping
  4. Regulators are setting the bar higher concerning consumer protection and client outcomes
  5. Autumn budget may have an impact on goal-based from a tax standpoint 


To what extent are firms adopting / using a goals-based approach?
There was broad agreement that “good” financial planners have always followed a goal-based approach, which allows the adviser to understand what is important to the client and develop a plan off the back of that. Advisers are now focusing on educating the client on the importance of having goals.

Attendees debated the extent to which goal-based planning was a pre-requisite for Consumer Duty. Not necessarily the case, as this was fundamental to most firm’s goal development model. However, the lack of transparency on the definition of Consumer Duty can be problematic.

A goal-based concept becomes less relevant for UHNWI / family office individuals, who were far less focused on goals and more concerned with investment returns and cost. A family office study from 50 of the leading thinkers in the world, all of whom were UNHWI/quasi-institutional investors, showed this type of investor focused on the value that financial institutions could offer, whilst also ensuring their goals were aligned with those of the financial institution. The caveat to this was that UNHWI planning for inheritance tax or intergenerational wealth transfers does classify as goal-based planning to an extent, which is a common goal for these individuals due to their typical demographic.

There was an educational element to the discussion. Example used was intergenerational wealth: firms should consider the financial education element to the people that may inherit this wealth (children and grandchildren) as they may have different values or an opinion on how this money was made.

How have organisations found the levels of adoption? Have they embedded it or made it mandatory?
The clear barriers were cost/lack of funding, consistent training and mandatory adoption for advisers.

Firms weren’t looking to make adoption mandatory for advisers, but they strongly encourage. Advisers tend to be very habitual in running their business, they have found that the key to a high level of adoption is having a few successful advisers using it and others follow.

Participants discussed the importance of the client’s goals being at the heart of the investment offering and were supportive of the concept that technology helps in the form of nudges and prompts if the plan goes off track, but the industry still needs the human element.

How have organisations quantified the benefits?
A Morning Star study found that when clients share their ‘financial wallet’ banks/wealth managers/IFA’s apply a goals-based concept, it brings 15% more assets due to better client engagement and higher client trust to the adviser.

Attendees mentioned there was little management information to measure the use of goal-based planning, it’s just an accepted practice within the industry.

Key takeaways:

  • There was no resistance amongst the group to goal-based approach, who see this as a way it’s already been done on a classic journey
  • Technology can help in goal-based planning but should not replace human interaction
  • Some of the main challenges involve levels of adoption across advisers, apathy, financial education and literacy