Change is constant in the financial services industry.
Over the past couple of years alone we’ve seen fundamental shifts in the regulatory, political and economic landscapes within the UK.
Client demographics have changed too, with pension freedoms creating new opportunities and risks for advisers and clients alike. Meanwhile, technology has taken huge leaps with robo-advice now a reality.
Having to constantly change and adapt can leave even the most positive amongst us suffering from a sense of change fatigue.
While many advice firms have adapted well to this shift, others may find themselves so focused on reacting to external pressures, they fail to spend enough time ensuring their internal business processes are fit for purpose.
And although this is perfectly understandable under the circumstances, I believe making the time to tackle this now could save advisers a lot of pain in the long term.
Optimise your business processes
The demand for advice is higher than ever, yet many advisers are still relying on the same processes they have used for decades to service their clients.
Often such processes are manual and time-consuming, which not only means more work, but it also leaves firms open to conduct risk issues as there is no centralised process to ensure consistency when dealing with similar clients.
Ensuring your business model is robust and backed up by scalable, repeatable frameworks not only helps to mitigate this risk, but leaves you free to focus on the area you add the most value – giving advice.
Define your value proposition
The range of people looking for tailored advice is much broader than it used to be following pension freedoms. As such, it can be tempting to try to create a client proposition that’s broad enough to service each type of client.
However, the opposite is actually a more effective approach. By determining where your expertise lies and which segments will be best served by that expertise, you can align your business to the needs of your ideal demographic.
Whilst it might initially feel risky to focus on certain segments to the detriment of others, a well-defined proposition can help to differentiate your firm and carve you a place in a highly populated market.
Articulating the value of advice
Measuring any intangible service is difficult, and advice is no exception. As a result, advisers may find themselves providing lists of transactions in an attempt to demonstrate the ways in which they add value for their clients.
The problem with this is you might be providing a logical response to an emotional issue.
While it’s true your clients will need you to action transactions on their behalves, it’s actually the trust, relationship and overall confidence in your ability to keep their assets safe that they really value.