Preparing for growth: what can we learn from global high growth advisory firms?
- Some larger firms have higher growth but at the expense of the profit margin.
- All businesses faced the same challenge around how to make existing advisers more productive.
- Remuneration of advisers could have an impact on the need/desire to write new business rather than just look after existing clients.
- In house training works well and all firms have seen the benefit of this especially those that provide a mentoring approach for newer advisers to learn from the top advisers in the business.
- Trying to get the balance right between looking for new business and servicing existing clients.
- Servicing existing clients is becoming more time consuming and potentially stopping advisers taking on new clients.
- Monitoring adviser activity clearly shows that it drives up performance but this needs to be implemented with care in order that it is not a case of ‘big brother’ watching you scenario and there is a clear benefit for the adviser.
- You cannot play at acquisitions; you need to invest in resources to carry the function out or not do it as it takes up a vast amount of management time.
- As clients become more demanding or firms have to work harder to justify their fees how can this be done in a more efficient and cost effective way
Conclusions and solutions:
- All firms seem to face the challenge of how to get advisers to be more productive. They are possibly the most expensive asset in the firm, so how can more be got from them.
- Internal training to pass on ‘soft’ skills etc is critical for a firm as newer people are very technical but lack the people/sales skills that are required.
- There is not one set of ratios i.e. clients per adviser, AUA per adviser etc as all firms run different propositions so it is difficult to benchmark yourself.
Expert: Martyn Chappell & Steven Greenfield, Dimensional Fund Advisors