Alternative thinking

When questioned, most small IFA firms will talk a great game of expansion and recruitment but in reality their potential targets extend no further than mates and industry acquaintances. Once this ingenious recruitment strategy is in progress, the barriers that are thrown in the way will lead many to abandon the master plan of world domination and realise that sharing the office in the back bedroom is not such a bad idea after all.

First, there is the employed or self-employed dilemma. Every accountant will give a different opinion on whether it is appropriate for an adviser who is regulated under one firm to be deemed self-employed. If not, then the firm embarks on the daunting task of becoming an employer and all the issues this entails.

Then there is the matter of experience and qualifications. If the contender is without the basic qualifications and experience, the firm has to be prepared to undertake a rigorous training regime. But with too much exper-ience, the predicament is working with a team member who is not willing to adapt to different working styles – not a desirable attribute in a group trying to pool resources, share knowledge and benefit from each other’s experience.

Most firms have a desire to create their own identity and a local awareness of their brand. A potential new member must add value to the brand or at least not undermine it. The industry is full of big hitters that turn out to be loose cannons.

So, where are the advisers that will tick all the right boxes and none of the wrong ones? If you are prepared to part with a king’s ransom, there is no shortage of recruitment companies with all the answers.

As you might have guessed, I am talking from experience, which has taught me that even when the right people are found, what they want or expect is not necessarily what the firm wants to offer. I do not mean financially but in terms of support, guidance, leadership and training. Some require a great deal of these and some require very little.

But the greatest concern is that of autonomy. Even the most experienced advisers acknowledge that they could always benefit from a little extra support but in doing so do not want to give up the control they have come to enjoy.

Conversely, a firm must acknowledge that they accept full responsibility for anyone who is regulated through them so naturally they need to impose control measures.

At CBK, we offer two alternatives. Either joining a team in the traditional way or the CBK banner and infrastructure under which to operate but with registration via one’s own company – thus autonomy is maintained for both parties. Either way, resources, knowledge and experience are collectively enjoyed, along with the undoubted benefits of being part of a group rather than a one-man band.