Introduction: I am very excited to have Thomas Zaccaria, Founder of TWAMS Financial Planning, LLC based in Pennsylvania. The name TWAMS comes from the first letter of the first names of Thomas’ nieces and nephews.
Thomas and I connected back when I was starting to build my website and his firm was subsequently added to the solutions. I have always been an advocate of firms outsourcing so they can focus on their highest value activities. So when I began writing my blog interviews highlighting solutions, I knew he would be a great solution to highlight.
Advisors/owners need to ask the following question when considering whether to outsource a function in your firm: What is the highest value and best use of my time?
Thomas Zaccaria, CFP
TWAMS Financial Planning, LLC
You can connect with TWAMS on LinkedIn.
AdvisoryQuest: Welcome Thomas, thank you for taking the time to tell us about TWAMS Financial Planning, LLC and your services.
Thomas Zaccaria: Happy to participate in your blog.
AQ: Tell us about your financial planning background and why/how you started TWAMS?
TZ: I began working in Financial Services in 2000 as an advisor. I always enjoyed the planning aspect of the business more than anything else. In 2009 I decided to leave the retail side of the business and focus solely on providing Financial Plans for other financial professionals.
AQ: What outsourced financial planning service do you and your team provide for advisors?
TZ: We are a resource for advisors within the Financial Planning process. We help with anything from Data Gathering, Data Entry, Plan Creation, What If Analysis, Presentation Creation and Social Security Benefits Analysis. Our services are offered a la cart so advisors can chose as much or as little support they need for a given planning assignment
AQ: Describe your process for working with advisors- from gathering the required data for developing the plan to delivering the plan to the advisor to monitoring and updating the plan?
TZ: It really depends on how much support the advisor is looking for. If we are helping from the beginning of the process we typically have the advisor send the client an email letting them know TWAMS will be in touch to begin the data gathering process. We then contact the client directly with data gathering forms and schedule a call to review everything with them.
Once we have completed the initial data gathering, we enter data into the software. Then we build the plan based on what the advisor is looking for. We review various drafts with the advisor and make sure they are satisfied before the plan is presented to a client. We help with monitoring and ongoing updates to the plan when requested.
AQ: How quickly can an advisor be up and running working with you?
TZ: Not long at all. We have a few paperwork housekeeping issues to take care of but once that is out of the way, we can start working. Most new client onboarding is done in a day or two. It’s not until we start running plans for an advisor that we get a true understanding of the nuances of how they want plans completed for their clients. It takes a couple plans for us to get familiar with how they work.
AQ: What types of advisors are a good fit for your services?
TZ: We typically work with smaller independent RIA’s with 1 – 5 employees. They often don’t have the time or desire to run plans but would like to provide them for clients.
AQ: What financial planning software (and any other software) do you use to create plans for advisors?
TZ: Currently we support eMoney, Money Guide Pro, NaviPlan, and Finance Logic. We were recently introduced to Advizr but we don’t have any clients that use it yet. The software we work on is driven by the advisors we support. We will learn any software an advisor is using if they want us to.
AQ: One of the main advantages advisors gain from outsourcing financial plan creation is it allows advisors to grow (take on additional business) without needing to hire a staff person (additional cost) to develop plans.
What other advantages does an outsourcing financial planning service offer advisors?
TZ: We are able to save them time in the process since all we do is run plans for other advisors. We are also more experienced with various software platforms giving us the ability to work through issues more efficiently.
AQ: What feedback have you received from advisor clients regarding how outsourced financial planning has helped them operate their businesses more efficiently and effectively?
TZ: They appreciate being able to delegate planning work without having to worry about spending time training. They also appreciate the fact we are a vendor serving financial professionals only.
AQ: What should advisors consider when deciding whether outsourced financial planning services is right for their business?
TZ: It can be right for any advisor who wants to offer plans to their clients. The big thing to consider is how difficult it will be to keep a full time planner happy/busy with planning work. Often a ParaPlanner will be brought into an office full time but there isn’t enough work to justify having a full time ParaPlanner. What happens as a result is the ParaPlanner will have to work in an operations capacity helping with administrative tasks such as paperwork. Unhappy with the non-planning responsibilities, they leave after a short time in the position.
AQ: How do you handle the advisors client data- to make sure it is kept private and secure?
TZ: We utilize eMoney’s Vault for information uploads and downloads. We also will store documents and completed plans in DropBox in password protected files.
AQ: Thanks for sharing how TWAMS teams with advisors by providing financial planning services which allows them to operate more efficiently and productively.
TZ: Thanks for having us, we appreciate it.