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By Gill Cardy | Published Oct 09, 2012

IFA toolkit: An ideal client proposition

Last week we listed every element of the service you offer to clients. Now we must take a step back.

We will challenge why we do these things, whether they are necessary, whether our clients value them, and most importantly, from a planning point of view, whether we will continue to provide the same services in future, or not.

A longstanding client happy to help with your planning process will provide useful insights. An impartial observer will also challenge why you do some things, or not others.

So, look at that detailed list of all the tasks involved in your client proposition. If it has less than 50 items on it you need to go back and add more detail.

Now work your way through each element and identify:

• Things you must do, to meet compliance requirements;

• Things you should do, which represent good business practice;

• Things you want to do, your particular skills or because clients should want them;

• Things you do because clients have specifically asked you to.

Why is this important?

Clearly you cannot remove from your proposition activities required for compliance purposes. However, you can challenge how these things are done (over the phone before we meet, face to face in a first meeting, in writing following a meeting?).

Or perhaps who does them (the adviser, the paraplanner, the administrator, the client?). Or when in the service delivery they are done (before you meet the client, during a face-to-face meeting, after the meeting?).

You will find on your list a number of actions that represent good business practice, even if you weren’t required to do them for other reasons. You would explain your services to your client, even if there were not an FSA disclosure requirement.

You would discuss how you charge for your services and how clients can pay for them, even if there is no requirement for costs disclosure. Sending a written client agreement and confirming business completed are other examples.

Then there are the things you do because it’s what you enjoy doing. Perhaps they are financial planning and cashflow modelling. Or maybe they are portfolio analysis and construction. Include here the things that no-one forces you to do, and that clients haven’t specifically asked you for, but which you think that clients ought to value.

For example, this could be more detailed conversations about the value and purpose of money, life planning, education about investments and risk, discussing the importance of legacy.

Finally, there are the things that clients specifically ask you to do: review their investments, calculate their pensions, simplify their affairs, reduce risk, reassure, and so on.

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