I’ve often spoken before about the breadth of skills that a ‘general practitioner’ adviser needs to have and maintain.
They need not only the specialist technical skills that one might automatically think of, but also people and relationship building, business development, business management, marketing and process management skills, to name but a few.
During the full calendar of events run by the NMBA each year, I endeavour to touch upon all those business areas whenever possible, ensuring that attendees are receiving a day full of really valuable event content.
However, the sessions that receive some of the most enthusiastic feedback from advisers are those which offer them the opportunity to really interact and engage with other advisers.
The best practice sessions we facilitate help advisers share and generate ideas, and grow in popularity and attendance numbers every single round.
The one thing that all attendees have in common is the desire to pick up one or more ideas that can make a difference to them personally, or to their business.
The format of these sessions, and the areas covered, are dictated by the attendees themselves, and tend to be either successes they have recently achieved, and how they have achieved them, or the challenges they are currently facing.
Variety of topics
Despite having chaired dozens of these meetings during the 18 months I have been at the NMBA, I’m constantly surprised at the wide variety of subjects which are raised.
There are a few which come up at every single meeting, in one guise or another, showing that some issues are shared across the entire financial advice community, and there is always at least one in every meeting that I’ve never encountered before.
Topics that are regularly raised for discussion include time management, creating business efficiencies, using technology, enhancing the client experience and charging structures.
As is the case with many issues in the financial advice industry, there are more grey areas than black or white definitive answers and the choice of what to do often comes down to what suits an individual adviser or firm, rather than a blanket approach working for everyone.
One method may work for some but not for others, which is why we see such a varying spread of business practices. The idea of these meetings is to discuss these different approaches, and for each attendee to determine what approach would best suit them and their businesses.
Due to the subjective nature of some of the subjects covered, it has always been a useful idea to determine best practice by asking what ‘good’ looks like. Of course, there are often as many different views expressed as there are delegates in the room, but this wide range of opinions and perspectives only offers more value to those in attendance.