As many advisers will know, generating new business can be tough. Which is why Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall is trying a raft of unusual measures to attract potential clients.
The City-based firm is this week hosting its first client conference at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for up to 200 people, having invited each of its clients to attend free and bring a guest.
Speakers at the event include Barclays Wealth Management head of behavioural finance Greg Davies and economist and journalist Tim Harford.
Hall says the event, which will cost Yellowtail around £20,000, is “ambitious” and “a bit of a punt”. But he hopes it will bring in new business and help the firm stand out from the crowd, and plans to make it an annual event if it is a success.
He says: “By asking our clients to bring a guest we hope to gain some customers and make a return on our investment.
“We are giving our clients confidence that a small outfit like us has got some clout. This is a way of competing with the private banks and the wealth managers, who have much deeper pockets and can put on this kind of event.”
Yellowtail plans to film the conference and use it as marketing material, adding to a series of videos it has recently published on financial advice.
Four short clips have been professionally produced which aim to contrast Yellowtail’s approach to that of a more “old school” wealth manager. One video explains how Yellowtail listens to clients rather than talking at them and another tells how it sends clients only the information they need rather than overloading them with documents.
Hall says: “The videos use gentle humour to poke fun at some of the ideas that have been around in the industry for a long time. We are aiming to engage with existing clients as well as new ones. If clients want to make a recommendation they can point people to the videos to give them a flavour of what we do.”
The videos have had up to 600 views since their launch at the end of September and Yellowtail plans to produce more in the new year.
Hall believes smaller firms have an advantage when it comes to producing online content.
He says: “A lot of small firms are being very active with social media and online content at the moment. Larger firms have a lot more to worry about in terms of branding and compliance, whereas we can be more nimble.”
Hall has also written and self-published a book on financial planning after a bereavement, entitled, Who Will It Hurt When I Die?
He says the book was inspired by the many widows he has advised over the years who have suffered financial difficulties after their partner’s death. The book combines real-life anecdotes with guidance on wills, life insurance, pensions and investment.
Hall says: “Death and money are the last taboo subjects in our society. People are not having those conversations about life insurance and wills and that is creating all sorts of problems.”
The book will be launched at Yellowtail’s conference, with each attendee receiving a free copy.
Hall says: “We have growth aspirations for the business and that means getting new clients. In the past I have struggled to gain clients through professional connections as London does not have the same sense of community that other areas have. Competition is so fierce in the capital that you have to be creative to attract people and stand out.”
You can watch Dennis’ videos on how Yellowtail compares to traditional wealth managers below: