In Focus: Profitable advice business  

You can't 'sell' wealth management to accountants

Darrell Stone

Darrell Stone

When setting up a new advice business or looking for a new income stream, professional partnerships offer one route to new marketplaces.

The accountancy world is going through many of its own regulatory changes at the moment, with a drive towards making tax more digital.

This means that many accountants are looking at advisory services to sit alongside their compliance work, including financial advice and wealth management.

Partnership with an accountancy firm or professional body can give advisers constant access to quality SME business leaders who are building their business and need wealth management assistance for themselves, their business and their team.

For instance, many of the SMEs using accountancy firms build their businesses diligently over a period of time but rarely look at themselves regarding the protection they have in place, where their pensions and investments are, or how to succession plan their business.

For larger advice firms with advisers across the UK, partnership with a similar sized accountancy firm or professional body enables multiple advisers within the firm to work in partnership with an accountant.

One of the benefits that first attracted us to accountancy partnerships was the ability to create a specialty in this area, so we can share success stories and ideas for the benefit of all the accountants and advisers across the partnership.

This helps all our partners grow their business, increasing the productivity of each partner as the accountants introduce us to more and more of their clients, as well as helping to attract new advisers to our partnership.

Wealth management is an area that many accountants should be considering, but few offered when we were first approaching accountancy firms in 2016. 

Also, of those who had formed partnerships back when we formed our first accountancy partnership in 2016, few were working and prospering.

When we first approached our partner, 2020 Innovation, in 2016, it would be fair to say that their confidence in wealth management firms was not high.

At first we secured a place with four other firms on their recommended list, but within a year we formalised our partnership into an exclusive arrangement.

We have grown the partnership steadily since. We now have 55 accountancy partnerships across the UK through 2020 Innovation, with more on the way.

This year, our accountancy partnership business is up 29 per cent year-on-year despite a turbulent and difficult market, with gross revenues set to hit a seven-figure sum.

Our partnership works fairly simply from a legal and compliance perspective.

Continuum sets up each accountancy introducer as an introducer appointed representative under Continuum (Financial Services) LLP with the Financial Conduct Authority.

Each accountant also has to abide by their regulatory body's rules on wealth management introductions. But they are only responsible for introducing, with the advice risk all resting on Continuum.