Managing director and chartered financial planner at Sutherland Independent, Jason Betteridge, part of the speaker lineup at the upcoming Money Marketing Interactive conference, talks about the solutions and challenges around customer centrality.
What is the most encouraging advice market trend you are seeing at the moment?
There has been a definite drop in new business numbers as advisers get their practice ready for Mifid II – the clarity of charges and reaffirming advice to clients at annual planning meetings can only enhance the client understanding and demonstrate our continued worth
What one word or phrase do you think sums up the state of the financial planning profession today?
Progressing – there has been significant improvement in knowledge for the average IFA with more seeking to be chartered etc. This can only improve our profession and provide better advice outcomes for clients.
What are the keys to winning over more consumers to start seeking advice?
We have always believed in looking after existing clients and that has been our greatest source of new client referral. In general, we need to find a way to encourage saving by keeping the financial language simple and looking at ways to get advice to those in an affordable way that believe its too expensive.
How can advisers best show their fees are worth it?
We are looking at a number of ways to demonstrate that we add considerable value to our clients. If you have a strong client relationship, you are their go to person 24/7 and its hard to put a price on that resource!! Cash flow modelling, forward planning and introducing technology such as a client portal to reduce paper and communicate securely all demonstrate our worth. Its more than a valuation and a cup of tea these days…
How important do you think coaching and life planning are to a modern advice business?
This is becoming an integral part of any quality planning business. The fundamental reason for a client to build wealth is to enjoy the lifestyle they desire in order to live a fulfilled life. Looking at their money in isolation may result in clients not taking opportunities which they well may look back on with regret.
What do you think marks out a truly innovative planning practice today?
To create a financial planning business that is truly client-centric, that empowers their clients, helping them find solutions and inspire them to live their life. External reading, course like Kinder and the use of external consultants like Standards International really help firms to focus not only on our external clients but to ensure that our staff are fully engaged with this philosophy too.
What should we be doing to get more new advisers into the profession?
The realisation that the role of an adviser is not a product salesman but a life coach aiding clients throughout their financial journey.
What is the one key skill all aspiring advisers should learn?
It is easy to tell clients everything you know or have learnt which can be a mistake as the most important skill is to match the clients needs by listening to them.
If you could make a magic wand, what one thing would you change about how the advice profession operates in the UK?
Look to find more routes as quickly as possible to uncover those IFAs that continue to drag our industry down with poor practice for a quick buck.