Who’s looking after advisers’ best interests?

Who’s looking after advisers’ best interests?

Bronwyn delaneyIf you look in the reception area of an Australian IFA, the chances are a well-groomed and well-intentioned business development manager will be sitting waiting to share a product update with the adviser.

Bronwyn delaneyIf you look in the reception area of an Australian IFA, the chances are a well-groomed and well-intentioned business development manager will be sitting waiting to share a product update with the adviser.

The purpose of these meetings is to ensure the adviser and, in turn, their clients are fully apprised of the unique benefits of a product. Its an odd and clunky process for financial product-makers; they are caught in the tension of marketing to two separate groups with very different needs.

On one hand, the advised client is seeking personalised investment advice and seamless facilitation. On the other, time-poor advisers are seeking true-to-label investment performance with optimised practice integration. In short, products that do what they claim to do and are easy to use.

Being easy to deal with is good business, but having to deal with a business less is even better. The soundest proposition you can make to an adviser is: I will perform exactly how and when we agreed and I will give you transparent reporting and easy integration with the technology you prefer.

To the end-client it is: I will offer you the most beneficial product and I will support your adviser to do the best job they can for you. The litmus test that can be applied to all-comers is this: if the clients best interests are to be served then the product maker must embrace the adviser’s needs – helping you to help them.

Within the fixed-income space, the predictability of products doing what they claim is almost a given. Bonds and term deposits are comparatively very reliable and rarely the cause of a please explain meeting.

It is for this reason that FIIG has been able to focus on being easy to use. It is tempting at this point to explore the fine detail of how FIIG has created a refined hand-in-glove experience for advisers wishing to divest themselves of the tedium associated with processing term deposit instructions or, at the more interesting end of the spectrum, how to open the bond market to retail investors and connect them to a professionally managed fixed-income portfolio service.

The service refinements for these products serve both the adviser’s and the clients best interests; better rates, direct ownership, predictability, transparency and integration are beneficial to all the stakeholders. Only then do product education and sales tools become significant, once a compelling product proposition for both the adviser and the client is in place. In essence, FIIG is taking a modern approach to the most heavily utilised and traditional asset class: fixed income.

Australian advisers have had a busy few years, responding to reform in both FOFA and Trowbridge as well as the changing horizon of robo-advice, not to mention a very volatile equities market. For an IFA the challenge is compounded; they need to re-engineer their practice to not only cover the reforms but to compensate for the losses brought about by structural change. At the recent ifa Business Strategy Day a group of advisers agreed they were all looking for a revenue increase of around 30 per cent to get back on track.

So under these circumstances, with IFAs looking to a future where the greatest pool of capital is in the hands of the SMSF, the retirement chapter of life is prioritised by security and cash flows and the need to be at the front of fixed interest has never been clearer, lets check back in with the BDMs waiting in the foyers: how prepared are they to address needs of this calibre?


 

Bronwyn delaneyBronwyn Delaney is the head of intermediary and middle markets marketing at FIIG Securities.

Who’s looking after advisers’ best interests?
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