Data plays a role in almost all aspects of business today. We measure clicks, views, leads, and just about anything you can imagine to analyze and predict how a customer or prospect will act. Sometimes we spend so much time sifting through data looking for answers, we forget to simply look people in the eye and ask questions. Data may be vital to success, but the best information often comes from a face-to-face conversation.

This point was driven home for me recently when we hosted the first-ever Vanguard Retirement Plan Access Advisor Forum. We love bringing advisors to Vanguard almost as much as they love visiting campus—taking a picture with the famed Jack Bogle statue was a required part of their itinerary! The event was filled from start to finish with conversations between advisors and Vanguard thought leaders. We discussed some of the most pressing challenges facing advisors and their clients and collectively brainstormed ways we can work together to enhance advisor support and the client experience.

A highlight for me was the chance to sit in these brainstorming sessions and listen to the insights shared by our advisor partners. I judge the value of these sessions based on what I learned, and on that criteria, this forum was priceless. I learned so much. And I know our guests absorbed valuable information as well. From technology and services to resources and mobile apps, we received feedback that will be used to further enhance the advisor experience. It was very rewarding to see advisors exchange ideas and learn of strategies fresh and new to them. They shared frustrations, expressed opinions, and offered suggestions on all aspects of the business. They bounced ideas off one another and provided solid insights for my team.

This conversation won’t stop. We are already making plans to host similar events in the future and want to continue the current conversation with advisors and learn more about their needs.

One message was clear to me, and it won’t show up in a spreadsheet: We’re in this together. The best way for us to improve and provide the best support for advisors is to continue to have honest conversations that put the client first.

So with that in mind, I have a simple but big ask for anyone reading: Give us a call or shoot us an email. Start a conversation and find out how we can support you and your clients. The more we learn from you, the better equipped we’ll be to evolve our services to fit your needs now and in the future.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Email: retirementplanaccess@vanguard.com

Phone: 888-684-4015

Note: All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.