View more on these topics

Tim Sargisson: Stop doing stuff you shouldn’t be

The recent survey from Nucleus showing that the number of advisers spending more than 40 per cent of their time on admin has tripled in a year should worry us all. Clients do not pay fees for advisers to deal with paperwork, so working two days out of five for free is not good business.

Meanwhile, more advisers are looking to sell their firms amid an increasingly challenging regulatory environment and rising pressure on costs, all at a time when demand for advice is growing.

Indeed, further research from Openwork warns that the demand for advice is not being met, with 56 per cent of adults not currently receiving advice believing they would benefit from doing so.

So there is something of a perfect storm brewing. Advisers are sitting behind a mountain of paperwork, while the clamour for help from the man in the street is ignored due to a lack of time.

Quite clearly, this is not sustainable, so we face two choices: to look at ways to reduce costs and/or look at ways to become more efficient.

This is easier said than done for the 89 per cent of retail investment firms that have less than five advisers, however.

For them, there might not be many levers to pull to influence a cost base or identify areas in which to improve efficiency.

One way to solve this problem is to build a business of scale, but this is simply not a realistic proposition for many.

A single little change on its own will not make a huge difference, but putting a series of small improvements together can generate significant efficiencies.

Just look at ex-British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford’s “aggregation of marginal gains”.

We should all be familiar with the story of his success.

Under his leadership, the British Cycling team went from being, quite frankly, unimpressive to winning 60 per cent of the gold medals available in the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Four years later, in London, the team set nine Olympic records and seven world records.

We know from our own conversations with advisers that many of them are not too concerned about making more money.

But I am yet to speak to an adviser who would not welcome a reduction in their levels of paperwork and admin.

Essentially, success will be determined through finding a way to stop doing the stuff you should not be doing.

Perhaps the solution is to use the support of a professional services company, which will take on a large part of the investment risk and deal with paraplanning, compliance, professional indemnity insurance and all the other important stuff, while leaving the client relationship intact.

This lets the adviser run the business the way they want to run it and spend more time with their clients, their family or out on the golf course. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Tim Sargisson is chief executive at Sandringham



Ex-FSA chief is ‘secret weapon’ new guidance body says

The Money and Pensions Service says its chairman Hector Sants is the “secret weapon” that will help drive ambitious policies that improves the lives of consumers. Sants was appointed chairman of MAPS in May 2018 and has explained the guidance body’s intention to tackle pressing issues such as “financial shame” in wider society. In April […]


Unregulated introducer on 40% commission wound up

The High Court has wound up an unregulated investment introducer firm which was receiving up to 40 per cent commission from bond issuers. Asset Backed Management Limited was put into provisional liquidation in April following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. At a High Court ruling on 7 May the Official Receiver was appointed as […]

Need guaranteed, increasing retirement income? This may be the answer

It’s well known that people tend to become more financially conservative the closer they are to retirement, and grow increasingly cautious with their pension savings. At that point the focus is often more about protecting accrued savings rather than building funds for retirement. This has become even more topical after pension freedoms were introduced in […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. take the high road 6th June 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Ha ha…well summed up Tim..

    I can’t believe how life was so easy all these years ago…which was probably why many advisers could in theory have so many clients to look after…I now struggle to look after my hundred or so with so much to do for them; pre & post review work and other regulatory stuff we have to try to keep up with!!

  2. Clients don’t pay advisers to do paperwork …


    Clients pay advisers to offload / out source paperwork ……


    Get me some rose tinted specs
    # bull squirt

Leave a comment


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