Welcome to the end of another interesting week! My highlight this week? Hanging out on G+ with Gareth Thompson of Codepotato taking websites, SEO and content marketing for financial planners/advisers! And going by the page views so far, it has been very popular! You can see the video here!
So here’s the latest installment of Adviser Digest, with a summary of the interesting articles this week. Click on the title to read the full article(opens new window)
This short article is a quick reminder from the OFT that advisers who charge clients on a retainer basis may fall foul of Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The problem is not about putting clients on a retainer per see, it’s what the retainer is for. If you put client on a retainer for services that has already been provided, then effectively you are providing service on credit and an appropriate consumer credit licence is required.
“Where they are receiving services upfront and not paying for a significant period down the line, then they could need a credit agreement.
Many adviser of course already have a credit licence, if they do any mortgage business but it is worth checking that this allows them to provide credit to consumers.
Nick Cann of the IFP take a look at the subject of Adviser’s Alpha (the same we you would consider a fund manager’s alpha.) That is; where is it that advisers are really able to add value to client over and above products?
Given the increasing focus on costs and charges, there is a greater need for advisers to focus on how and where they deliver most value to clients. With Direct-to-Consumer offerings gathering pace, consumers can buy financial products quickly and cheaply, meaning that adviser will need more than product selling or price differentiation in other to survive in the new world.
Cann noted that an emerging models among successful financial planning businesses, pointing out the common denominator is that client is genuinely at the heart of what these firms do.
The effective integration of a paraplanning role allows the advisers to spend more time with clients and de-risk their businesses. They can more effectively demonstrate this value to their clients and establish trust, generate more realistic fees for the work that they are doing and build profitable, long term business relationships.Clients recognise their financial planner’s alpha because their feedback and experience confirm it.
This article in the FTAdviser is a response by the FSA to a letter signed by 700 advisers on the concern that clients are paying twice for top up on legacy products: once through adviser charging and again through high product fees that have not dropped despite the RDR commission ban.
Well, the regulator has responded by putting the ball back in advisers’ court; advisers will have to take product costs into account when deciding what was best for the client.
“Where an adviser is providing a personal recommendation to a client we would expect them to consider the product cost as part of the suitability process for their client’ a spokesperson for the FSA said.
In his weekly column in the FTAdviser, Dennis Hall takes a look at outsourcing. Given the high cost of offices spaces and highly qualified staff, outsourcing non-client facing activities is a no-brainer in many cases. For instance, time-consuming activities such as preparation for clients reviews and other paraplanning work can be easily outsourced to a third-party.
However, some roles are harder to outsource, case in point being where a personal assistant is need. While using a Virtual Assistant is an option, the need sometimes for someone who can physically wrest things from one’s grasp, and take things from the desk, makes this harder to justify.
Ultimately, every adviser will need to look at pressure points within their business and consider where to outsource or hire a hand in-house to do the work.
I hope you have enjoyed this and hopefully it’ll make you job a little easier! As paraplanners, that’s what we do! As usual, thought and comments are welcome. Enjoy your weekend!