Beyond the portfolio:

How Buckingham delivers better financial planning with Flourish Cash

Key takeaways
Key takeaways
  • Buckingham is one of the largest independent RIAs in the country, serving individual clients through Buckingham Strategic Wealth and partner advisory firms through Buckingham Strategic Partners
  • As a comprehensive, planning-oriented firm, Buckingham identified a gap in its ability to help clients with held-away cash and began using Flourish Cash in 2019, integrating the product into its CRM, financial reporting, and planning tools
  • Buckingham has been able to deliver tremendous value to clients with Flourish Cash:
    • Thousands of invites sent 
    • Hundreds of millions of dollars on the platform
    • Over 100 partner RIAs onboarded
    • Millions in interest paid to clients
The Challenge
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Lack of advisor-centric options

Cash is an important part of every family’s financial life, whether to protect against an unexpected expense, to meet a short-term liability, or simply to sleep well at night. As a firm dedicated to delivering holistic financial advice to its clients, Buckingham knew that having a solution for cash was important, but found that the options available to advisors were limited. “There are solutions in the marketplace for individual consumers,” said Aaron Grey, Managing Director of Client & Advisor Experience at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. “But the lack of advisor-centric solutions meant that we didn’t have confidence that clients would find the right product or set it up correctly in order to receive the most benefit.” 

In fact, advisors were often unaware if a client even moved forward with opening an account, let alone being able to incorporate the information into a financial plan. “Historically, without a solution like Flourish, you might have mentioned some of the options out there, but you couldn’t be involved in helping a client execute and implement. And usually what you find out is that people don't ever take action,” said Steve Atkinson, Managing Director, Advisor Relations at Buckingham Strategic Partners (BSP). “For BSP, that meant we were unable to help our partner firms help their clients."

Instead of sending clients out to find, set up, and maintain a cash management solution on their own, Buckingham needed an advisor-centric solution that they could confidently recommend to clients — one that met their high standards. “We were looking for a solution that would give clients access to a savings vehicle with insurance, safety, and liquidity, in addition to a competitive rate and great client experience,” said Grey.

On the partner side, the goal was similar: identify areas of opportunity to provide more value to partner firms and, in turn, allow their partner firms to better serve end clients.

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Flourish Cash

As Buckingham explored options back in 2019, they realized that Flourish Cash hit all the marks: a competitive variable rate§ (currently more than 10x the national savings account average#), no minimums and no Flourish account fees, increased FDIC insurance through Program Banks,Ω and easy access to cash. 
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In addition to delivering on the client benefits, Buckingham saw that Flourish empowered advisors to provide clients a value-add solution while retaining visibility into balances. “What really puts Flourish over the top is the fact that it’s built to work specifically with the advisor community,” said Grey. “We’re able to present clients with a solution with the key attributes we’re looking for out of a savings vehicle, while also integrating with our workflows and maintaining visibility in order to understand what’s in the account.” 

Atkinson echoed this: “The fact that Flourish is delivered to RIAs, for RIAs, and we can play a part in helping clients implement and execute is a huge value add. It allows us to lean into the cash conversation instead of avoiding it.”

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Integrations and enablement

After selecting Flourish, the next step was to get it running seamlessly within the organization. Buckingham’s technology team worked with Flourish to build an integration directly with their systems. Grey described the process: “When we refer a client to Flourish, our advisors just click a button within Salesforce, our CRM, to initiate an invitation directly to the client. Behind the scenes, Flourish Cash data is automatically pulled into Orion and MoneyGuidePro, our portfolio management and planning systems.” 

Following the integration, the next step was to inform and educate advisors through trainings and webinars. Whether newly-hired advisors or those joining via acquisition, training to use Flourish Cash has become part of the Buckingham onboarding process. “It’s a really well executed, simple solution. Flourish is easy to understand once you know what it is and how to interact with it,” said Grey. In parallel, a similar process occurred with Buckingham Strategic Partners, from working through integrations to ensuring their Regional Directors were trained on the solution.

Finally, Buckingham began to roll out Flourish Cash to clients. “For each one of our clients, we have a very customized planning process. The ingredients are all the same, but the ordering and emphasis is going to be unique to that client and their specific set of needs,” said Grey. “Flourish comes up at different stages of different client’s relationships based on their priorities and situation.”

“It’s something that I bring up to almost every client over time, as every client has cash needs” described Erica Bouchard, Wealth Advisor at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. “It’s a standing agenda item. If a client isn't earning a good rate on their savings, I make it a point to tell them about Flourish.” 

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Expanding conversations and achieving goals 

As Buckingham invited clients and saw accounts being funded, the benefits that they were looking for were realized. “We can give even better advice to our clients, while giving them extra confidence because their advisor is experienced with Flourish,” said Grey. “Flourish makes for a better experience and has achieved all of our key high-level objectives.”

In the ensuing years, Buckingham has been able to deliver on its goals, with thousands of clients invited, hundreds of millions of dollars on the platform, and millions in interest paid to clients across both Buckingham Strategic Wealth and Buckingham Strategic Partners, which has more than 100 partner firms using Flourish. Flourish has become one of the most preferred technology tools among advisors at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. “Our advisors have given Flourish one of the highest NPS scores of all technology we use,” said Grey.
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Having a solution for cash has allowed Buckingham advisors to make it an even deeper part of the planning process. “Flourish has definitely helped us deliver a robust, more comprehensive solution,” explained Atkinson. “The best advisors do more than just provide investment advice. You’ve got to get outside of the numbers and have a more emotional conversation about life — that’s the chasm you have to jump over. A good advisor, a good fiduciary, is always working to expand the conversation with clients and bringing tools to the table to help them achieve their goals.”

 

About Flourish
Flourish builds technology that empowers financial advisors, improves financial lives and retirement outcomes, and delivers new and innovative investment options to advisors. Today, the Flourish platform is used by more than 700 wealth management firms representing more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management. Flourish is wholly-owned by MassMutual. For more information, visit www.flourish.com.

About Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Buckingham Strategic Wealth, LLC (“BSW”), a Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment adviser providing an extensive range of fiduciary financial advisory services, supports individuals, families, nonprofits, and organizations. With a passion to progress, serve, and do the right thing for clients at all times, Buckingham Strategic Wealth helps to fulfill client’s financial dreams using the organization’s proprietary Design. Build. Protect™ methodology and an array of evidence-driven investment and planning strategies. 

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Buckingham Strategic Wealth has 48 offices across the country. Buckingham managed $24.44 billion in regulatory assets under management (as of September 30, 2023). For more information, visit www.BuckinghamStrategicWealth.com.

About Buckingham Strategic Partners
Buckingham Strategic Partners (“BSP”) offers a comprehensive wealth management platform and array of services to a nationwide community of independent financial advisors. Leveraging Buckingham’s Design. Build. Protect.® methodology and supported by evidence-driven investment and financial planning strategies, Buckingham Strategic Partners helps independent financial advisors better serve their clients and grow their businesses. 

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Buckingham Strategic Partners supports more than 1,200 partner advisors. BSP , along with Buckingham Strategic Wealth, collectively manage or administer more than $62.3 billion (as of September 30, 2023). For more information, visit www.BuckinghamStrategicPartners.com.

 

“Buckingham” (Buckingham Strategic Wealth and Buckingham Strategic Partners) and Flourish are separate and unaffiliated firms. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity. This feedback may not be representative of the experience of other customers, and is not a guarantee of future performance or success.

Interested in learning more about Flourish Cash?


Flourish is an online platform through which investors can access financial services and products. Flourish’s offerings are provided by different entities and are subject to different terms, investor protections, and risks. Flourish Cash is offered by Flourish Financial LLC, a registered broker-dealer and FINRA member. Flourish Financial LLC is not a bank. Check the background of Flourish Financial LLC and its personnel on FINRA's BrokerCheck. Flourish Crypto is offered by Paxos Trust Company, LLC, a New York limited purpose trust company regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services that provides custody and execution services for the Flourish Crypto accounts, and Flourish Digital Assets LLC, registered in New York as a commodity broker-dealer and provides website and other services and support for Flourish Crypto accounts. Paxos is not an affiliate of Flourish. Flourish Annuities refers generally to the annuity platform operated by Flourish Technologies LLC, where applicable, and to Flourish Insurance Agency LLC in its capacity as a licensed insurance producer providing insurance services related to such platform. Flourish Insurance Agency LLC does business in California under the name Flourish Digital Insurance Agency. An annuity is an insurance contract. Annuities shown on the platform are sold through Flourish Insurance Agency LLC, a licensed insurance producer, with offices in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are issued by one or more approved licensed life insurance companies. The Flourish entities mentioned above are affiliates. Flourish Cash, Flourish Crypto, and Flourish Annuities accounts are separate accounts and only assets in Flourish Cash accounts may be eligible for protection by the FDIC or SIPC. Please review the Legal section of of our website, and the disclosures provided with each Flourish service or product, for further information. If you were introduced or invited to Flourish by an investment advisor or other third party, please be aware that, unless otherwise disclosed to you, they are not affiliated with any Flourish entity. The role of the investment advisor or other firm that invited you to Flourish may vary between different Flourish services and products, as further described in your terms of service. © 2024 Flourish. All rights reserved.

† A Flourish Cash account is a brokerage account offered by Flourish Financial LLC. Flourish Financial LLC is not a bank. The cash balance in a Flourish Cash account will be swept from the brokerage account to deposit account(s) at one or more third-party Program Banks that have agreed to accept deposits from customers of Flourish Financial LLC. The accounts at Program Banks will pay a variable rate of interest. If you were introduced or invited to Flourish Cash by an investment adviser or other third party please be aware that, unless otherwise disclosed to you, they are not affiliated with Flourish Financial LLC and will not provide advisory or brokerage services or provide instructions on your Flourish Cash account.

§ Flourish Cash currently has a tiered interest rate structure, as set forth in the rate tier summary. We deposit your cash first with one or more of the Program Banks in the tier with the highest interest rate, up to the maximum amount of deposits for that tier, and then continue depositing cash at Program Bank(s) in each successive tier until all cash has been deposited, subject to any Program Bank(s) you have elected to exclude from the Program. Each annual percentage yield (APY) displayed here is effective as of 12/07/2023 and may change at any time. The rates of interest paid by the Program Bank(s) to Flourish Cash customers may be lower than the rate that you could earn by opening a deposit account directly with such bank(s).

# Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Deposit Rates: Savings [SNDR], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/SNDR, 02/20/2024. 

∫ Your advisor may charge fees that are collected from your Flourish account; speak with your advisor for more information. Wire fees may apply.

Ω The cash balance in a Flourish Cash account that is swept to one or more Program Banks is eligible for FDIC insurance, subject to FDIC rules, including aggregate insurance coverage limits. FDIC insurance will not be provided until funds arrive at the Program Bank. There are currently at least 20 Program Banks available to accept deposits for business Flourish Cash accounts and personal Flourish Cash accounts, and we are not obligated to allocate customer funds across more than this number of Program Banks if there is a greater number of banks in the program. Customers are generally eligible for FDIC insurance coverage of $250,000 per customer, per Program Bank, for each account ownership category. Thus, business customers are eligible for up to $5,000,000 of FDIC insurance and personal customers are eligible for (i) up to $5,000,000 of FDIC insurance for an individual account or revocable living trust account and (ii) up to $10,000,000 of FDIC insurance for a joint account with two owners or joint revocable living trust(s). The total FDIC coverage for a two-person household is calculated assuming that each household member has an individual account and that both household members share a joint account. If the number of Program Banks decreases for a customer (for instance, because a customer chooses to exclude Program Banks from receiving their deposits), the amount of FDIC insurance through Flourish Cash could be lower. Typically, all of a customer’s deposits at a Program Bank in the same ownership category (including deposits held outside Flourish Cash or held through multiple Flourish Cash accounts with the same ownership category) count toward the FDIC insurance limit for deposits at that Program Bank. Customers are responsible for monitoring whether they maintain deposits at a Program Bank outside of Flourish Cash and should consider choosing to exclude that Program Bank from receiving their deposits to avoid exceeding FDIC insurance limits. Although Flourish Cash is offered through a brokerage account and cash held in brokerage accounts often has the benefit of SIPC protection, until such time as we offer securities products, customers likely will not have the benefit of SIPC protection. SIPC protection is not available for cash held at the Program Banks. Our current Program Banks can be found here. For additional information regarding FDIC coverage, visit https://fdic.gov/.