Why holistic advice may not be the way forward

With rising compliance costs and more risks abounding for planners who try to be a jack of all trades, this former goals-based adviser made the decision to specialise in a surprising field.

In a recent episode of the Goals Based Advice Podcast, adviser Phil Thompson discussed the rebranding of his previous holistic advice business Thompson Financial Services to specialist risk advice practice Skye.

“I think I saw the writing on the wall that compliance was getting much more difficult and the type of advice we provide is complex. To be a solo-adviser practice, which I am at the moment, it’s very difficult to be an expert across all the areas of advice, and too risky,” Mr Thompson said.

“I decided to minimise the type of advice we gave – it went from holistic into super and insurance and then I’ve just gone all in on insurance advice. I feel like if we can provide the best service in that one area, we will protect ourselves from a compliance point of view as well as being able to provide the best service to those clients.”

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Mr Thompson explained that specialising in insurance advice made it easy to scope this need out of the client’s broader advice picture, and refer them to other practitioners if they had broader needs and goals.

“A lot of new clients we get introduced to get introduced via advisers or people who know the client’s need is just insurance. We start off with a 15-minute phone call and that’s when we uncover what the need is I have two main things in my file note, what does the client actually want and what’s their current situation,” he said.

“If they want anything greater than insurance, or if I think they need advice greater than insurance, we quickly refer them either back to the adviser that came to us or to an adviser we partner with.”

While restrictions on commission levels in risk advice had forced many practices out of the sector, Mr Thompson said this could be an advantage for risk practices that specialised in commission-based advice and wanted to partner with firms who no longer offered insurance services.

“Lots of advisers are deciding that they want to be pure fee for service advisers and haven’t found an avenue to incorporate commissions into their advice or haven’t been able to do fee for service for the insurance part of their business,” he said.

“Each individual area of advice is so complex, plus the underwriting is getting more difficult and premiums are going up 20 per cent every year by every insurer at a minimum. With those complexities and difficulties, a lot of advisers we partner with have decided the insurance is all too hard.”

Why holistic advice may not be the way forward
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