Despite a slight decline in the number of its advisers, Tenet Group increased gross sales over the year by a healthy £400m.
The company noted in its January annual report that the fall in adviser numbers was mainly attributable to advisers near retiring age who chose not to qualify for CQF level 4.
TenetConnect and TenetSelect managing director Mike O’Brien said that the increase in gross sales despite the decline in adviser numbers indicated a growth in productivity over the period. He added: “Here, we are in a stable environment, not distracted by other factors. We are continuing to grow organically rather than by acquisition. We continue to support both independent and restricted business models.”
Mr O’Brien said that in part the increase in sales occurred as business rebounded once advisers had their proposition in place following RDR. He also noted the positive sign of acceptance of the change among clients. “There has been less resistance to adviser fee charging than the industry expected,” he said.
He added that organic growth rather than acquisition “means we devote time to helping people to develop their businesses. Over the period covered, we have had the mortgage market review, pensions reform and the Consumer Credit Act. So we have devoted time and resources to helping the advisers understand what they need to do.
Part of that care also relates to ensuring advisers avoid some of the financial challenges that have pushed others close to the edge. Mr O’Brien said this lay behind the use of its captive insurer, Paragon, to help with professional indemnity insurance cover.
He said: “This means advisers are not bounced around the market, and there is no panic up to the date of renewal. This helps with costs. Also, from last year our advisers are building up a reserve to provide run-off cover if they happen to leave us. We think that is unique.” The company has also created its own auto-enrolment solution to help members gain a foothold in that market and the possible continuing business that may result.