When Business Relationships Become Personal

by Kristina on April 28, 2011 · 1 comment

The black and white area of our financial relationships may become grey as we develop personal relationships within our professional lives.

If you have a financial advisor, when does your professional relationship about your finances become personal?

I have been a financial planner for almost six years and I have received some pretty outrageous requests from clients over the years.  People often trust their personal financial advisor just as much as (and sometimes more than) they trust their own family.  It is normal for two people who spend time together to form a personal bond over the years, but to what extent should our professional relationships become personal?

My financial institution offers mobile personal financial advisor services.  This means that as your personal financial advisor I can visit you at your home or office for our business meetings.  As people’s lives become more hectic, banks are trying to accommodate the lives of their busy clients.  Therefore we offer mobile banking services for our client’s convenience.  However, sometimes the business lines are crossed with  personal requests.

One day last fall I went to visit a client at his home to have him sign some papers and also to pick up a cheque for deposit.  Once our business meeting was over the client handed me a list and asked me to do his grocery shopping. Last spring as I prepared for a personal 4 day vacation to New York City I called some of my (more demanding) clients to inform them that I would be out of the office for a few days. One of my clients called me back and asked me to pick up his wife and drive her to New York City.  She had plans to visit her children in New York the exact same weekend. Instead of booking a flight, my client asked if his wife could drive along with me.

Some of the requests that I have received from business clients do not stop at personal favours.  I had one client ask if I could accompany his son to an upcoming family wedding as his date. It is hard for some clients to accept that I am unmarried even though I am a young professional who lives with her long time boyfriend.  Some clients don’t understand the DINKS generation of being unmarried and childless with a focus on our career.  Do you let your personal values influence your business relationships?

Usually I am a strong believer that family and business don’t mix.  However, the exception to his rule is personal financial advice and choosing a personal financial advisor. It is ok to take recommendations about financial institutions and financial advisors from family members.  Even if you have the same financial advisor as another member of your family, all personal financial dealings are kept confidential between you and your financial advisor.

It is important to remember that our financial advisor is not our friend, our financial advisor works for us.  However, it is also important to remember that our financial advisor is a professional bank employee; they are not our personal employee.  Have you ever crossed the professional relationship line with a personal request?

(Photo by BareKnucle)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kristina April 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I love having a personal relationship with some of my clients, but it is definitely a professional personal relationship; meaning we are friendly while doing business, but we don’t see each other socially outside of the office. I change my relationship management style depending on my personal relationship with each client. Some clients prefer a more personal relationship when doing business because it puts them at ease and allows them to open up about their finances.

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