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How to change your company for the better

Whether it is enhancing suitability, dramatically growing efficiencies or delivering extraordinary value to your clients, innovating your services can deliver dramatic results, but how do you go about it?

There are three key steps to prepare:

• Who is your target audience?

Who are the people who really value what you do? Let us take the annual investment review process for example. The average age of a client in review where Dynamic Planner is used is 63 and it is in their 50s that clients are turning to the service, right through to their 70s.

Once you have an idea of who your target audience could be it is important to check and see if it is large enough and growing. According to the Office for National Statistics there are 30m people in this target demographic and it is expected to grow by 250,000 a year. A good start.

The question of whether the market can be served profitably is key. Our data show that while the average assets under advice of a client in review is £315,000, it ranges from a few tens of thousands to £2m.

Looking at the distribution, most clients have less than the average, and so with an adviser charge of 1 per cent a year the amount of work that can be applied to deliver value profitability needs to be considered.

• What is keeping them up at night?

Understanding what is keeping your target clients awake at night is important. Here there is no substitute for asking them. According to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives study in 2018, almost two-thirds of consumers do not feel highly confident managing their money, and this rises to almost three-quarters when it comes to pension decision making. Companies tell us that clients in review present themselves with key questions such as, ‘Will I be OK? Will I run out of money? How can I avoid unnecessary risk?’

• Map their journey.

Next map the customer journey through their eyes: find an adviser they trust; have their situation understood; know if and how their desired retirement expenses can be met; gain a good return for the risk taken; and check they are on track each year.

Once you have mapped the journey, ask your clients where they place most value and how your current service delivers against this.

Look for gaps. Is your comprehensive fact-finding really delivering against clients’ desire to be understood? Are basic illustrations really helping them understand whether they will meet their expenses? Does the annual platform statement really help them understand whether they are on track?

The final step is to answer four questions:

• What can be reduced? For example, with fact-finding time, could you use online risk profiling that the client completes beforehand?