In my last post (Part 1), I shared my memory of a conversation that took place at one of my recent one-day workshops in Brisbane, between Lance Cheung of the ‘tiny giant’ firm Parinity, and a number of older, more experienced advisers. The conversation launched when Lance told them that his experience directly contrasted with their experience that most of a client’s work would be performed in the first year of their advice relationship. He told them that advice relationships with clients at Parinity often became broader as they progressed, not narrower.
I think much of this disparity of experience can be traced to disparities between Lance’s and his colleagues’ pre-existing mindsets, beliefs and thinking.
Most around that workshop table had larger, more established practices than Lance’s. Larger practices forged in an era without FoFA’s opt-in, built at a time when fees were not as transparent, and when consumer awareness wasn’t as front-of-mind and alive as today, nor was the ‘scaled advice’ trend heard of, yet alone getting implemented thanks to revolutions afoot in large banks, large superannuation funds and the internet.
Working with firms like Lance’s and his partner Keiren Murphy, we are witnessing nearly 40% of an advice clients second years fees increasing when compared to first year fees. Advice firms like Parinity are focusing on a perennial value proposition – helping their advice clients manage the multitude of financial complexities as they attempt to achieve the financial outcomes that are meaningful for them.
Subtle, but important to the delivery of the Parinity value proposition, is Lance’s and Keiren’s belief that core to their role is a project management function.
Keiren and Lance see their role as being less about their technical skills in tax, investments, and insurances. Whilst these skills, accreditations and experiences are important components of their expertise, what is core is their project management ability.
They earn extra fees, not because they are just lifting their fees compared to previous year’s services, but because they broaden their scope of engagement when needed to better meet the aspirations and outcomes meaningful for their clients. They aren’t afraid to investigate and project manage a potential solution to support their clients in areas of business consulting, estate planning, accounting, restructuring.
They realise they don’t need to be the subject matter expert in estate planning, or leasing, or debt, or structures. They can help source the relevant expert for the client. But they will never, I believe, delegate the project management of their clients’ financial lives.
One person in the workshop group challenged them that their dealer group won’t like them overseeing business management advice.
He’s right. Most aren’t ready to potentially consider a broadening of services as most of today’s dealer groups aren’t a dealer of project managers, but a dealer of investment or insurance advisers.
Some advisers might need to find a new dealer group, or establish their own.
Someone else wanted to know where they got their project management experience from. Same place all the workshop participants got their own experience from, client by client. The question Lance left them all with is when do you want to start – it’s up to you.
These are the best of times to be building great advice firms with broad advice propositions built to satisfy the broad range of needs with project management, client management and strategic management skills. The question for advisers today is – are they ready to take advantage of these best of times when clients are needlessly suffering from too much financial complexity in their financial lives or are they still trying to re-create their firms of pre-2008?
Image courtesy of thepathtraveler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Jim Stackpool
For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.