From Adviser Guide:
Picking a network part 1
Q: What will the network do for me?
A network will provide a regulatory umbrella and framework to enable members to write business that is wholly compliant.
Keith Richards, group distribution and development director of Tenet, said the network shares the regulatory responsibility with an adviser.
He said networks:
* Provide guidance on the latest FSA regulations and requirements - now and into the future - enabling an IFA to build/add value to his or her business.
* Provide a wide range of additional services, such as funding, marketing, recruitment, training, etc - to underpin the growth of the business.
* Provide exit planning solutions if a member wishes to retire/sell a business.
Philip Martin, proposition and marketing director of Openwork, said a good network should champion you.
He said a decent network will put its arms around an adviser when times are tough; find new market opportunities for you; help you move into new areas of advice if you choose to; reward you for the top-quality job you do for your clients; and at the end of it all, help you plan your succession.
Nick Kelly, managing director of Sesame Bankhall Group, said in-house product and fund research should reduce the burden for members, as would face-to-face and online training support that brings these complex topics to life.
Within a network, he said advice firms should be able to take confidence in the knowledge that capital adequacy was taken care of, along with professional indemnity insurance on market leading terms.
He added practical support with studying for professional qualifications and changing business models were essential components as advice firms adapt their service for clients and develop new areas of income.
Mr Kelly said: “Networks should use their scale to give members access to bulk purchase discounts on everything from software to lead generation, to drive efficiencies and keep costs down, while at the same time sourcing enhanced commission rates or enhanced factory gate charges in order to keep revenues up.
“The bigger you are then the more weight you have. There should be support (including financial) to help firms grow their business, or indeed sell it and retire.
“In essence, a good network provides practical assistance: enabling firms to retain their independence, but share in the benefits of being part of a much larger organisation, and then when the time is right, realise the value.”