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SunTrust's New Planning Tool Can Provide Rude Awakening for Investors

Stocks in this article: STI BCS


When asked if SunTrust would use the aggregated data in its marketing efforts, Sicchitano said, "That's not the purpose of SummitView. We're trying to solve a problem for a client, so we are using this as an opportunity to incorporate that information."

Another service provided for the convenience of customers is a document "Vault." The client can decide which documents to upload, with images stored securely. Some documents can be made available to the SunTrust financial planner or investment adviser, with others being available only to the client.

One may wonder why it would be useful to upload images of personal documents, including financial statements, passports and wills to the SummitView vault, but it could come in quite handy. For example, if a client dies, the surviving spouse could easily locate all important documents in one place.

Making Use of the Information

With SummitView set up, including nightly updates for as many investment holdings as possible, a SunTrust financial planning client will have a "dashboard" view of his entire financial picture, including a broad summary of account and property types, net worth, spending, budgeting and a Planning Snapshot, all on one screen. The planning tools are mainly provided by MoneyGuidePro.

The Planning Snapshot includes an estimated percentage chance of success in meeting the client's long-term financial goals, incorporating current market events. For example, if the S&P 500 were to see a major decline over a short period, with certain stocks held by the client being hit very hard, the client's percentage chance of success would probably decline significantly, highlighting the risk of his investing strategy.

The PlayZone within SummitView allows the client to project the effects of changes in his planning on hisr chances of meeting his goals. The client can change his planned age of retirement, change estimates for spending needs when retired, change estimates for other needs, including college costs for children, and even incorporate other planning items, such as extra living expenses for travel and bequests. The client -- with or without the assistance of their financial planner -- can even alter expected investment returns on the PlayZone page to see how different performance would affect his chances of reaching their goals.

There's a tab within SummitView called "What are you afraid of?" This is a tool allowing clients to run stress tests. Sicchitano provided many examples: "What if inflation goes through the roof? What if my mortality assumptions are wrong? What happens if Social Security changes? What happens if there are extraordinary healthcare costs?"

The client can run lots of different stress tests in different combinations, while also changing assumptions for his needs, to run various financial survival scenarios.

Bringing it all Together

"What we are trying to do for clients is to help them take a massive amount of information and give them context on how it affects them personally. An adviser takes all that information and applies it to a client's unique circumstance," Sicchitano said.

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