BDMs the compliance frontline

Advice sector business development managers are playing a key role in assisting advisers compliance and statements of advice, according to startling new research.

A new Business Health survey of 115 BDMs and product development managers found the roles extend far beyond sales and marketing assistance and product help.

More than nine in 10 respondents said they are expected to provide sales and marketing assistance to advisers, 85 per cent provide strategic business planning help and three quarters help with product training and professional development.

Many were also expected to provide assistance with referral partners, client presentations, lead generation and succession planning.

But more surprisingly, more than one third said they provided help reviewing statements of advice (SOAs) and more than one fifth provided direct compliance assistance.

“Over a third of BDMs told us part of their role was reviewing SOAs (statements of advice) and client strategies and monitoring compliance,” said Business Health partner Rod Bertino.

“Do they have the skills, and expertise to do that and is there a conflict?” he asked. “That really blindsided us, that one.”

Mr Bertino said Business Health spoke to a licensee manager about that statistic and he confirmed that is the case.

“[BDMs are] becoming the frontline for compliance; we expect them to be vetting [SOAs], if there’s a problem or a concern it will get escalated,” Mr Bertino said.

The research also found half of BDMs are expected to recruit new advisers, although half had recruited less than five advisers in the past 12 months.

BDMs said they would prefer more face to face time with advisers with one third spending less than half of their face to face time with advisers and more than half spending at least one week per month on administrative tasks.

The preferred advisers got the more personal treatment: two thirds of BDMs contact their best advisers at least fortnightly by phone or email and almost two thirds invite their best advisers to a quarterly group function.

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