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As advisory businesses evolve, keeping employees and business partners on board is often the most difficult, but most important, task. Bringing everyone in the business on the journey could well be the key to its success or failure. 

In this business, owners face a number of challenges. 

First, advisers have often been used to being an island. They had their own clients, their own systems and working practices. Now they are being asked to shift employment status, adopt different styles of working and be part of a team. This requires a significant shift in mindset for those advisers, one that they may understandably be reluctant to undertake. 

However, that they do so is vital for businessowners, who face a business risk in having a “lone wolf” adviser doing things their own way. The FSA has made it clear that advice must be consistent and repeatable across an advisory firm. Having someone forging their own path cannot happen in the new regulatory environment. 

This has led a number of commentators to talk about “toxic” RIs - those RIs that can destroy a business through being unwilling to adopt new working practices. 

Clearly, these should be dealt with swiftly but in his column this week, Steve Billingham suggests less Draconian ways of bringing employees and colleagues along with business change. 

This is also giving many advisory practices a problem with recruitment and it is telling that both our diary columnist this week – Georgina Partridge of Plutus – and our adviser – Sheriar Bradbury of Bradbury Hamilton – have recruited people they already know well rather than trying to fly blind. 

In both cases, they have aimed to recruit people who have already bought into to the groups’ philosophy and practices. 

The last thing any advisory practice that is making steps to change wants is an adviser in its midst that is obstructing progress. There will be advisers who simply cannot make the change, who will not be able to change their mindset from sales to advice. But most are more flexible than they might appear at first and good management should bring them round. 

We welcome your feedback, so please send any comments on this or previous month’s issues to reynard_cherry@hotmail.com.

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