Fisherman

Business consultancy

These articles are designed to provide you with practical approaches to business improvement. They are based upon experience of working directly with financial adviser businesses with the aim of saving you time and money.

How can financial advisers assess the health of their business?

Robert Kerr, Head of Distribution Development, explains...

One of the most challenging business planning issues is how to make your business stand out from the rest. One way to do this is to take a structured and objective look at different areas of your business by completing a 'balanced business scorecard', which covers all parts of the business in some detail. The scorecard for an IFA business should include

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Client management
  • People
  • Processes
  • Data management
  • IT

Scottish Widow's IFA business consultancy service has been using this technique for some time, and we've developed a set of questions for each area that should provide you with a detailed analysis of your business capability.

 

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What's the best way to define service?

Robert Kerr, Head of Distribution Development, explains...

Service has been placed top of the agenda by TCF and RDR. With the changes to how advisers charge their clients it is increasingly important that you are able to combine service with value for money, and set your business apart from competitors.

All practices need a clear service proposition, backed up by a service 'content' and a fee structure. Whether you opt for a 'package' or 'bespoke' charging structure, your clients need to see the value-added services you can bring them, taking your relationship away from product sale and making it easier to justify why your charges may be above the market average - with full justification.

 

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Where can I find the best sources of productivity improvement?

Robert Kerr, Head of Distribution Development, explains...

With falling margins, increased competition and more difficult trading conditions, the need to take cost out of the business has never been greater.

A majority of financial advisers have looked in two fairly obvious places to identify real gains in productivity. The first is 'back office' - processes and use of software and e-based services. The second is 'front office' - particularly client management and concentration on the most profitable clients. Both come with their own particular challenges.

It is suggested that IFA practices need to take at least 25% out of their cost base, compared to five years ago. This cannot be found by budgetary changes at the margin - a comprehensive review is important.

 

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