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The switch to service

I joined Arden Court as an adviser in 1999 when there were a total of three other advisers and one administrator.

At that time, the firm was fairly new and most of the income generated was in the form of indemnity commission to support the cashflow of a growing business.

Eight years on, the business has grown, we have more advisers, support staff, demanding clients and more overheads.

Last year, we decided to rethink our business model and to start moving away from a transactional, product-led approach to a service-based model, where clients value the service and advice that they receive and are willing to pay for it on an ongoing basis.

Our goal was for the business to have a predictable income stream and to have less reliance on constantly finding new clients.

The first stage was to segment our client bank and to create our client proposition focusing on the benefits we could bring to our ideal clients by them joining our wealth management service.

The next stage was to identify a technology provider which would be able to help us deliver the promises that we were making in the most efficient manner, from creating an appropriate investment strategy to monitoring performance and making changes when appropriate as part of our review service.

We selected Standard Life wrap for two main reasons. The ability to move assets away without any penalty if things go wrong. We almost had our fingers burned with a wrap provider that pulled out of the market last year and the level of training and support that they could provide during implementation.

Our first client went on to the wrap in September as part of a pilot project and initially the process felt a little strange and awkward while we were getting used to a different way of working and a new system.

Standard Life has provided excellent support and assistance throughout this phase and we are now rolling out our service proposition and wrap to all our advisers.

We are looking forward to seeing the effect that these changes have on our business and on the relationships that we have with our clients.

Simon Hinsley is operations director at The Arden Court Group

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