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Life planners urged to seek scale and serve middle market

Kinder Institute of Financial Planning founder George Kinder has warned that the integrity of life planning firms will be questioned unless a model is devised to service middle-income clients.

Kinder told PIMS 2009 delegates that accessibility to life planning and scalability of business models were issues that needed to be addressed.

He said: “As long as we do not have a model that incorporates people of middle income, our integrity is going to be questioned. It is something that has to be looked at. One of the keys to a successful brand is the scalability of the model, whatever model of financial planning you use, so that you have something that works for middle as well as higher income.”

He said a number of experiments are under way in the US, such as The Garrett Planning Network which is a fee-only service for middle-income clients and an initiative from Citigroup led by former Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist Jonathan Clements. This looks to offer a life planning service separate from Citi’s products.

Kinder said that the institute has done a deal with Allianz in the Netherlands which will see its sales staff undertake life planning training. He also revealed that Kinder had been in talks with a major US investment bank about putting its advisers through the training before the credit crisis struck.

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