Colin Lawson: How a 3½ adviser firm turns over £5m

No one will contest how incredibly difficult it is to scale a financial advice business. The conventional wisdom is that you need an army of advisers to achieve this; after all advisers are the ones who bring in the clients, deliver the financial plans and are pivotal to retaining the clients.

In this video, Colin Lawson, Founder and Managing Partner at Equilibrium Asset Management talks about how he’s structured the firm very differently than most in the industry and how this has enabled the firm to scale. The business has 3½ – yes Colin is the ½, around £400m assets under advice and a turnover in the £5m.

Colin’s structure is to have few ‘super-advisers’ who are supported by 3 to 5 paraplanners (or client service managers) who are responsible for not just research and reports but day-to-day relationship management, freeing up the advisers to focus on strategic delivery of advice.

Watch and enjoy!

Abraham Okusanya
Director
Abraham is the founder of FinalytiQ, a research consultancy for platforms, asset managers, and advisory firms. Recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in retirement income, platforms and investment propositions, Abraham has authored several papers on these subjects and delivered talks to the Personal Finance Society, The FCA and several conferences across the country.

He holds a Master’s degree from Coventry University and an alphabet soup of qualifications, including the Investment Management Certificate, Chartered Financial Planner, CFP and Chartered Wealth Manager designations. He was one of 5 finalists for the Professional Advisers Personality of Year Award 2015 but the award went to a more deserving winner, obviously!

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  • 4 1/2 advisers not 3 1/2 (ok splitting hairs!) 5 paraplanners to 1 adviser, with a further 20 administrative/compliance/marketing roles, so presumably generating plenty of new business and servicing existing clients very well… very impressive.

    Abraham, it would be helpful to know what sort of business firms conduct (if they are willing to share such information). Colin suggested that the advisers do 10-12 client meetings per week, each… so say 450 per year each? are these largely new client meetings and exploratory meetings? which would be about 2,000 meetings between them…(so do clients meet 1x, 2x a year? more frequently?) do any of the paraplanners meet clients without the adviser there? how many clients do they look after like this? do they also provide corporate services?

    £400m by say 2000 meetings = average client £200,000 AUM each, if 2 meetings per client then £400,000…. which may make a difference to ratios? …. just trying to benchmark for my own sense of growth/development/direction as a firm… against what certainly seems like an excellent firm! (well done Colin & team).

    • Great question Dom! There’s two more videos to come in the series, perhaps those will shed some light. I’ll take on board your points for future interviews.

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