The problem with internet research

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

Receiving referrals is one thing, and there are many tried and tested ways of obtaining them, but my latest dilemma was how best to refer a good friend to another adviser or planner. 

The friend in question is a qualified accountant who recently sold her owntraining company using a management buyout.

The training involved major banks and financial institutions.

The main reason for not taking her on myself was that I did not wish to mix business with pleasure.

She is a friend, but not a bosom pal, and the circle we move in probably relies on me not knowing how wealthy she and her husband are.

Apart from which, she lives some 300 miles away.

I thought it best to refer her to someone I knew carried out true financial planning and could be relied upon to do a good job.

So, I started to look at the list of financial planners I knew in her area.

One immediately sprang to mind – but then he was selling his business and the reason my friend was moving from her current adviser was because the new buyers had not provided a very good service.

I did not want her to feel she was going from the frying pan into the fire.

However, I did know this person’s potential buyer and could trust them.

This prompted me to think about what questions I could reasonably ask of my colleague that would give me confidence in recommending them.

Was it pertinent to ask about their investment strategy and use of platforms, as well as their proposition and pricing?

Or should this be something that I leave my friend to investigate?

The responsibility was pressing, for what I originally thought was a straightforward request.

I suppose because our clients have firsthand experience of us, they can recommend without concerns like these, but it must be very difficult for those who are searching for advice through the internet.

Clearly, it is paramount we get our branding and marketing right so the consumer can have some degree of trust when they first encounter us.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth