The increasing red-tape burden will force risk advisers to look at becoming more efficient in running their practices. They’ll have no choice.
Clients must perceive that their adviser’s practice runs just to service them.
Fifteen or so years ago, other than the standard business and tax paperwork, all the records one had to keep as a practising adviser, was a client record file system.
Some did this diligently, others not so.
Importantly, clients were front and centre and could be allocated the time they deserved and demanded.
FSR changed this; FOFA has added to the load. So much so, the ‘red tape’ of compliance, including the day-to-day business compliance issues, can constitute up to 50 per cent of an adviser’s working week.
This is non-income producing effort and it does nothing to build and retain client relationships.
This can potentially kill a practice or limit the potential for growth at best. It doesn’t leave much time for delivering the important aspect of advice – a great experience for clients.
These are some of the practice management issues facing modern day advisers and it is looking like nothing is going to get any easier soon for them.
Or is it? The challenge to advisers, their practice staff and licensee, is how to increase practice revenue and profit while coping with ever increasing bureaucracy and still delivering an awesome experience for the client.
At The Risk Store, it has come to our attention that many of the modern advice practices we come across are currently underutilising the modern planning/ CRM software platforms they subscribe to, particularly the use of the workflow functionality available.
Every practice has its own ‘workflow’ or way of servicing its clients, liaising with referrers and suppliers and maintaining procedures within their practice.
These are often implemented manually, repeated over and over.
Each step in the advice process requiring human effort and time (remember time is always equal to money or in real terms, cost to the practice) but often resulting in inconsistencies along the way.
The outcomes tend to be ad-hoc, inconsistent, inefficient, time consuming and costly for a small business.
We often see many missed opportunities by advisers to deliver a better, more consistent service experience for their clients and the solution is sitting right in front of them.
Adviser-to-client communication is one of the poorer rated outcomes of dealing with advisers, according to extensive consumer survey data conducted by business consultants, Business Health.
That has to change, especially if advisers have to increasingly demonstrate the value of their advice service in light of charging fees (or justifying disclosed commissions).
This is where good, plain English communication coupled with optimally automated workflow functionality available in existing planning software can facilitate better outcomes for clients and the practice servicing them.
Some forward-thinking advisory practices have recognised this and have built workflows and client-facing communication into their planning software.
Pete Wincott is managing director of The Risk Store
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