I am often surprised by other advisers that tell me they do not need to take on new clients. They feel they already have enough, so they do not undertake any advertising or marketing. Some do not even have a website.
I am the first to accept an established adviser with a mature client bank may naturally generate enough new client referrals to replace any who leave or die, for example.
But while this might work for some advisers I am not convinced it is the best approach for most firms. There are several good reasons they should aim to achieve a reasonable level of growth.
Economies of scale: Even a relatively modest firm like my own – with two advisers, two paraplanners and a small admin team including a trainee paraplanner – has benefited immensely from economies of scale as a result of our growth.
These economies of scale have allowed us to invest in the very best technology and staff to ensure our clients not only receive the best possible advice but also that it is delivered quickly and efficiently.
Staff progression: In order to meet your staff’s own ambitions, growth can help create career progression opportunities within your business. Paraplanners tend to want to be advisers in due course and some admin staff would like to become paraplanners, for instance.
Without growth, it can be a case of dead man’s shoes, with staff looking at their seniors and trying to work out how long they have to wait until they retire. And if that seems too far off, your best staff may ultimately decide to leave, causing you unnecessary disruption and recruitment costs.
Risk reduction: As our firm has grown, it has allowed us the time and money to invest in developing other areas of advice, such as long-term care and auto-enrolment. This not only adds to the services and value we can deliver to clients but also reduces the risk of our business relying on any one particular advice area.
This has also allowed us to reduce our reliance on our founder Alan Turton. Consequently, the business, which was originally really just Alan, is now very much Rowley Turton. This means when he does decide to exit the business there will be a smooth and painless handover to other advisers within it. This reduces the risk for the firm but also for our clients.
Profit: Profit may be a dirty word for some but advisers are not generally a charity. And as a business owner as well as an adviser I do not think it unfair my business makes a profit.
Not only is increased profit good for business owners on a personal level but it can surely only be a good thing for our profession, encouraging new advisers and new firms to help bridge the savings and protection gaps.
Increasing profit is also good for the staff and clients, as it allows the business to recruit and reward the best staff, and build a significant capital reserve to cover difficult trading periods.
Scott Gallacher is director of Rowley Turton