Openwork reintroduces adviser performance tables

Openwork reintroduces adviser performance tables

Adviser network the Openwork Partnership is reintroducing monthly performance tables from next month, after withdrawing previous tables in 2019.

FTAdviser understands that from April, the network will publish internal performance tables showing levels of business activity for its network firms.

These will be published on a monthly basis but the network stressed there would be “no rewards or geared incentives behind this”.

Openwork Partnership said the tables were performance tables, not league tables, and this had been made clear to member firms.

An Openwork Partnership spokesperson said: "They contain the total level of income derived from adviser activity whether that be commission or fees from new business or ongoing client servicing.

"They do not relate exclusively to sales and neither is it possible to derive sales volumes from the information given.”

The network said it decided to bring back performance tables, after withdrawing them in 2019, as the information was “of importantly legitimate commercial interest” to partners in terms of business comparison and relative productivity.    

The spokesperson told FTAdviser: “The Openwork Partnership has regularly reviewed its position on incentives and inducements following RDR implementation and the additional regulatory guidance published shortly thereafter. 

“We continue to operate within a fully compliant framework where client outcomes are not conflicted by the manner in which our partners are remunerated. 

“Without compromising these principles, and as a commercial enterprise, we are entitled to publish management information showing relative levels of business activity. 

“Our recently re-published internal performance tables give this information to partners but we do not use league tables as means of driving targets, competitions or additional rewards.”

Alan Chan, director and chartered financial planner at IFS Wealth & Pensions, said he had his doubts about such initiatives.

Chan said: "They can sugar coat it however they like by adding in advice quality KPI measures to it but, let’s not kid ourselves here, if it’s still a sales performance table at the end of the day then it only serves one purpose, and that is drive up adviser sales."

Crackdown on incentives

Though Openwork stressed it does not offer its members incentives for featuring high up in its performance tables, historically adviser league tables and rewards have caused problems for firms.

Back in 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority warned on the risks posed to clients by inappropriate sales incentives.

The regulator said where incentives are “misaligned”, or poor performance management practices exist, these can lead to “undue pressure on staff to sell products, which can result in mis-selling”.

However, the regulator stopped short of asking firms to remove incentives, but said it expected firms to manage the risks created by them.

More recently, network St James’s Place was found to be offering its advisers cruises as rewards. 

This then led the FTSE 100 company to review its perks and incentives culture and it went on to announce an overhaul of the regime.