View more on these topics

The rule of cris

Axa Wealth head of business consultancy Gary Thomson says all business management consultants are not the same

Using external support means that IFA businesses can focus on what they are great at – managing relationships with clients.

A lot of advisers do this already by outsourcing compliance services, appointing discretionary managers, using risk profiling tools or asset allocation models, for example.

One area which is often overlooked, however, is the provision of business management support.

Management consultancy often gets a bad press. We have all heard the one about the consultant who steals your watch and then tells you the time and it is sometimes difficult to find a trusted partner who genuinely seeks to understand your business, that can help you achieve your objectives and can be trusted to act in your best interests.

This support is often made available by product providers in the expectation that the goodwill generated will strengthen the relationship with the adviser.

It is understandable that some advisers may question the motivation behind this or have doubts about the credentials or experience of the consultant but there are some criteria that might help you assess the motivation and credentials of your proposed trusted partner.

The Cris model was proposed by David Maister in his book The Trusted Advisor, where he says trust is based on Credibility plus Reliability plus Intimacy, all divided by the Self-interest shown by the consultant.

Credibility comes from experience in and out of this industry, access to global best practice in this market and others and relevant business and financial qualifications.

Qualifications are important but practical experience is vital and a good provider consultancy team should be able to tap into the collective experience of hundreds if not thousands of adviser firms which have been able to improve their productivity and profitability in many different ways.

The skill of the consultant will be in working with your own knowledge of your business to apply this experience in a way which is relevant to your unique challenges. Many providers have jumped on this band-wagon and now offer business consultancy services, so look to those who have a pedigree in this area and have a team of dedicated business consultants with relevant skills and experience.

Reliability comes through your experience of working with these individuals. Do they always do what they say they will? Have you been able to trust them in the past? Do they, as consultants, have a reputation for excellent service? Ask for case studies, and testimonials.

Intimacy is about a willing-ness to deal with the deeper personal and business issues that are often left uncovered by less experienced consultants. These are the “real” issues that often get in the way of genuine business change and can be skirted over in a by-the-numbers approach to consultancy.

Ask yourself if the consultant you are working with is really challenging you or does it all seem a little superficial? Look out for consultants who simply reproduce their last piece of work and slightly change it.

Self-interest is the most important part of the equation. All the credibility, reliability and intimacy in the world can be undone by a single action, which shows that the consultant is acting in their interests rather than yours.

If their self-interest is high, then your trust in them will be low. If they are clearly acting in your interests or, more importantly, in the best interests of a mutually beneficial relationship, then your trust in them should be high.

Some providers have a reputation for appearing to think that they know what is best for advisers or pursuing agendas that are in their interests rather than the adviser and his or her clients.

My own view is that it is entirely proper that providers should support the responsible use of their products and support the development of sust-ainable and profitable advice businesses.

Pick your partner carefully, make sure that they have the skills and experience you need, ask them for references and testimonials and when you start to work with them, consider whether it feels like they are helping you to achieve more than you could on your own.

Recommended

FSA bans ActivTrades ex-compliance officer

The FSA has fined a former compliance officer at foreign exchange broker ActivTrades £3,000 and banned him from holding a compliance oversight function for failing to ensure ActivTrades adhered to the FSA’s client money rules. The FSA fined ActivTrades £85,000 in March for breaching client money rules. David McGrath was responsible for ensuring that ActivTrades […]

10

Aegon announces more job losses

Aegon UK has announced an additional 213 job cuts across its marketing, IT and personal assistant support staff. Aegon today advised staff of new structures being brought in as part of its drive to reduce its operating costs by 25 per cent by the end of 2011. The provider is also in negotiations to outsource […]

TSC member calls for clarity over Goldman Sachs tax deal

Treasury select committee member Chuka Umunna is calling on HM Revenue & Customs to release information about a tax settlement arrangement with Goldman Sachs which he says saved the investment bank £10.8m. Goldman Sachs struck a deal with HMRC in 2010 after a long running dispute and was let off interest on 10 years of […]

‘Weakened’ LibDems will struggle to influence policy

Liberal Democrats will struggle to influence Government policy after the party’s disastrous results in recent elections, according to political experts. This month, LibDem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg promised a more muscular liberalism after the party lost control of nine councils, 747 councillors and the AV referendum. But Lansons director Ralph Jackson says […]

The death of retirement – a boost for protection?

According to our recent report on the death of retirement, changes in workplace pension provision mean that coming generations of retirees could have a radically different experience of retirement from their parents. The average contribution rate into an old-style final salary pension was around 20% of total wages, the statutory minimum for a new automatic […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com