All in the family
Modoras Financial Performance Solutions group managing director Peter Sarai talks to ifa about how his firm's family-focused orientation has guided his holistic approach to advice.
Peter Sarai established his financial advice firm 32 years ago as a “one-man band”. Today, that same firm has morphed into a multi-office business with 152 staff and around 55,000 clients. But there is one thing that has remained the same at Modoras Financial Performance Solutions, and that is its family- focused orientation. Mr Sarai says he founded Modoras on the principles of “genuine care, limitless possibilities and passion for creating lifestyle choices”.
“I decided that, if I was to set up a business, the model would be set in such a way that we stayed true to ourselves, stayed true to clients and were open, honest, straightforward and scalable,” he says.
“Whilst our core values have remained unchanged for 32 years, the ways that we deliver these values have changed as we continue to live by our brand promise of ‘achieving more is possible’.”
Mr Sarai says the firm delivers on this brand promise to its clients by constantly innovating and offering more. “The heart of our business is delivering exceptional client care,” he says. “That means every solution is a tailored solution. Every relationship is important.”
Pioneering a holistic approach
One major part of Modoras that Mr Sarai says has been a major factor behind the firm’s success is its holistic approach to financial advice. “To do that, you definitely need not only the planning arm, but the accounting arm as well, because structures are important,” he says. “What we’ve found over the years is that the relationship with our clients has been very solid, but the client has value in their relationship with their accountant as well.”
Mr Sarai says he came to the realisation that his discussions with clients had to be complementary to the discussions those same clients had with their accountants.
He notes that such an approach ensures clients the freedom to do whatever it takes to succeed financially in life while, at the same time, holding their hand during the tougher times. “That was a turning point for us, because if I have to provide a holistic approach to the client, it has to remain client-centric,” Mr Sarai says. “It’s about freedom for the client and how you set them free when they turn 60 or 65, or whatever the client’s goals may be.”
Incorporating estate planning
In keeping with Modoras’ holistic and family approach to financial advice, Mr Sarai cites estate planning as an important part of the firm’s service offering, describing it is a way for the firm “to give back to the wider community”. He says estate planning, unlike other forms of advice, is something that can be offered and discussed with every client regardless of their situation. “Money must become a by-product of your family at some stage [of your life],” Mr Sarai says.
“It’s a challenge to have a discussion with a client and go, ‘Where are you heading? What are you looking to achieve for your family, and how do we set you free?’ “You need estate planning because if unforeseen circumstances happen, such as premature death, [the money] … stays with the right people and the family is still talking to each other.”
Mr Sarai says estate planning has become more important in the last 10 years, not only because of the effects of the Global Financial Crisis but also because of declining interest rates, meaning income streams are not there for clients that are investing in fixed terms.
He further adds that retirees are living longer as well, meaning the firm approaches estate planning in a way that is not only about income. “The clients we took on a long time ago, they understood.
They were educated, and are now happy today,” Mr Sarai says. “Of the clients that come to us now, that’s the biggest issue we’re finding. Good education will fix those things up, and that’s what we need to do.
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