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Cutting out the timewasters

Like many IFAs, my view has been that the transition to fees for our

services will be extremely difficult.

Yet with profit margins falling and a recent spate of time wasters, I have

had to consider how best to grasp the nettle of charging for the work on

which we embark for prospective clients in the wake of their initial


After much thought and discussion with industry colleagues, I decided to

keep the initial consultation free but charge a fee of £100 for the

preparation of our report and recommendations.

At our discretion, that £100 will be refundable from any commission

subsequently generated by business transacted through us (subject, of

course, to a minimum amount).

We now present ourselves as a company remunerated by a mixture of fees and

commission – unless, of course, pure fees are the preferred option.

So far, I have been pleasantly surprised at how many prospective clients

have agreed this to be an entirely reasonable proposition – and at how

indifferent I have been to those not prepared to pay such a nominal and

potentially refundable sum (mainly stakeholder enquirers), if only as a

gesture of serious intent.

One new client, having eventually signed up for most of what we&#39d

recommended (and he was by no means an easy fish to land), said he would

not have paid any fee and that had I raised the issue he would have simply

have gone elsewhere.

I would like to think that almost all other IFAs he might have approached

would have operated a policy similar to ours. Hopefully, before too long,

this will be the case.

As someone recently asked at a presentation I attended, how do you know

clients won&#39t pay fees unless you ask them? Good point.

As it turns out (so far), most of the genuine ones will and cutting out

the timewasters at the outset will do nothing but help your business. Try


Julian Stevens

WDS Independent Financial Advisers, Bristol


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