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What Advisers Are Saying: Who owns the client?

That 81 per cent of advisers love what they do would hardly constitute a sparkling disquisition of the status quo (’twee’ would probably better suit) were it not allied to one other key fact – of the relatively small proportion of advisers who have lost or expect to lose clients unintentionally with the introduction of fees…. none claim to “love” what they are doing.

This goes to show that all the plans, strategies, tactics and tweets in the world (however well integrated and aligned) will not amount to much if your (and your peoples’) hearts are not in it… if you don’t have a reason why. It is what drives us and sustains us. But it is also what people respond to most.

Boris didn’t ride, wobbly, to victory in the mayoral elections because of great logic – the London Assembly results were a big win for Labour, rather emphasising that in many ways, Boris’ was rather an illogical victory. He won because of personality. How can we organise our businesses to ensure that with all the emphasis (rightly so) on efficiency and compliance that we do not lose what really sets us apart?

One key consideration, to this end, is the relative merit of employment v self-employment for advisers and how their contractual arrangements and remunerations are best structured after the RDR.

Much of this debate centres on the question of who owns the client. The answer, of course, is no one owns the client, it is a relationship. The more pertinent question is, what sustains the marriage?

From our conversations with some of the most successful advisers, the key is multiple touch points. The best businesses free their people to deliver great service but do so within the context of an advice proposition that is more than just an adviser.

Employment or self-employed? Both have advantages and getting the detail right (such as ensuring the parameters of post employment dealing with clients are clearly defined and well understood) is critical. But, as one adviser put it: “I could run the business like a solicitors firm, with each adviser earning 30 per cent of fees without owning the relationship…but I wouldn’t want to work there.”

What matters most is that your brand personality (your story) is greater than any individual that plays a role in delivering it. Logic is a bit of a battering ram, one that might work if your case is over-whelming but, mostly, people are moved by stories. What’s yours?

Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s The Plan

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Comments

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

  1. Rob Derry (Brunel Mortgages & Loans) 18th May 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t think the broker/IFA market is really in to corporate speak is it? They manage their clients by providing excellent service and advice. They ask for referrals or simply get them based on their track record. They keep in contact with their clients to review their needs. They KNOW their clients meaning they know how to deal with them and retain them.
    I don’t think multiple-touch-points or brand-personality is really needed in the broker/IFA market is it?
    The relationships most brokers have with their clients works because it is a genuine relationship. Corporate Management Speak is likely to turn customers off. They don’t want to be leveraged – they want a person that they can trust to sort out their financial needs.

    I’ve come from a background of working in some large corporates and the most refreshing thing about the market we’re in, is the lack of corporate nonsense and the attitude among brokers that if something needs doing – do it. No need to blue-sky it or brainstorm it – just do it.

    I run this idea up the flagpole and see how many people salute it…

  2. I hear what you say Rob. Let’s not go down Tangent Boulevard. Let’s be robust….

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