Certainty Advice

Delivering the greatest financial certainty for the greatest value
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Registration for this Greater Certainty webinar is $20+gst.
Please see our notes below for further details.









Whilst many of the Australian media might not agree with me, I reckon most advisers undercharge and over-deliver.

The quantum of advice fee charged has long been the biggest driver of being too busy rather than poor back-office systems, compliance or team performances.

(That’s probably another webinar sometime?)

Sure, I know we can all quote ‘some advisers’ that have fleeced whatever fogged a mirror, but I’m not talking about them – they’re not advisers.

From my experience, because most advisers are driven by their desire to help clients, that same desire usually makes them too cheap (and thus too busy).

I’m not advocating lifting price. Rather I’ve long been advocating understanding your value, then work on your pricing.

So, next Wednesday 25th at Noon for 30 minutes, I’m running my next webinar – “Alternative Advice Fee Models”.

I aim to cover how best to balance your value, your price, and your future considering AUM pricing, commission pricing, hourly pricing, hybrid pricing, value pricing and pull-a-figure-out-of-the-air pricing for your advice.

Well before I wrote “What Price Advice***” almost ten years ago, I’ve been pricing advice for advisory firms.

I want to share the current insights that I reckon professional advice pricing must consider to be sustainable, effective, and of course, valuable for your clients and profitable for you.

The future is upon us, whilst we haven’t hit the ‘tipping point’ just yet, I reckon if you’re not actively practicing with your pricing, you might already be in your own special Kodak moment.

And, by the way, I am again asking for a $20 donation to the best unknown cause Streetwork – which does real work on the real issues for our kids at risk, which is getting more prevalent and unrecognised. If you register, every single dollar you pay will be going to them – cheers up-front.

If you’re interested, I look forward to you joining me next Wednesday.

It’s the best of times to be building great advice brands and firms.


*** yes, I know it’s ridiculous that it’s currently out of stock, but the writer has been promising next draft for some time now!

Simple, Accountable Planning for your Advice Firm…

A big part of a financial adviser’s job is to make the complex things in their client’s financial lives simple.

I’ve long been a fan of Verne Harnish, his Rockefeller Habits and particularly his One-Page Strategic Plans.

As you make your client’s financial lives simpler and their outcomes more certain, Verne Harish’s One Page Strategic Plan will go a long way to make the complexity of your firm’s strategic planning much simpler.

By capturing your firm’s long term objectives, breaking down your desired outcomes into shorter one-year and quarterly time-frames, using relevant “smart” numbers that records and keeps team members accountable for ‘real’  progress, these one-pager business plans are indispensable.

Plans age as quick as milk.  

Advice Pricing – Part 1: Pricing Committees and Models

It’s unfortunate but not surprising that the majority of financial advisory firms have been badly caught out in the current marketplace with their old-fashioned, product-based pricing models.

A few of these unfortunate firms are proactively experimenting with new pricing approaches. The majority, however, are being reactive – not confident enough to tinker with pricing, they prefer to switch to an alternative product line (e.g. insurance) and wait for good times.  Both groups are considering cutting expenses, if they haven’t already.

Too few self-proclaimed advisory firms have been able to capitalise upon the mammoth opportunities for great advice created by the current market uncertainty. I can’t understand how an industry can try to masquerade as a profession, when such a fundamental tenet as its pricing is beyond its own control.

Keeping your financial advice simple…

I was with a great group of financial advisers yesterday who reminded me the importance of getting the basics right.

They are so engulfed by so much ‘noise’ in their professional worlds.

Markets are up, markets are down.

Personal wages (these advisers were primarily employees undergoing yet another remuneration review exercise) are uncertain and linked to the roller-coaster economic conditions.

Clients are on the back foot, some looking for miracles, some looking for retribution, most with rock-bottom expectations from their financial (read investment) advisers.

To lift revenue, they are being pushed to lift their fees, which to some appeared like throwing fire onto a fire that’s already too hot.

Amidst this, they knew the path to their growth.

Stick to the basics.  

It’s not about FOFA, it’s bigger than that…

So the Parliamentary Joint Committee set up to advise the government on the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) legislation can’t seem to agree on a set of common recommendations.

It matters little.

It’s inevitable that significant legislation like FoFA will face hurdles. Particularly when those hurdles are erected by politicians playing politics rather than statesmen arguing over the foundations of the emerging advice profession. Good initiatives only become great initiatives by overcoming the hurdles thrown at them. FoFA (or son of FoFA) will materialise, when is the question rather than if.


The bigger issue for anyone building advisory firms is the continuing and unmistakable consumerisation of financial advice.  

The Four Advice Propositions – Part One…

The “Supplier Proposition”

Do you have clients that seek the advice proposition that I call the “Supplier Proposition”?

You can identify them by their focus.

Without trying to sound obvious, they only seek what you have.

By that I mean, they are less interested in you ‘getting to know them’ or filling in all the myriad of forms than they are simply trying to ‘roll over’ their super, or ‘get a new loan’, or ‘get a better return on their investments’, or ‘set up a self-managed superannuation account’, or ‘get insurances updated’.

They are nice people (as all your clients are!), they generally take your advice regarding their specific need, and once purchased, they aren’t as keen for your annual reviews unless they have another specific need or they aren’t happy with their situation or need a change.  

“No Assumptions…”

Ironic isn’t it?

Our industry rigorously reminds its clients not to view past returns as a indication of future returns, but too rarely stops to question if the client’s past desired outcomes are indicative of their current desired outcomes.

Why do financial advisers do this? Isn’t that strange?

Why do they clumsily try to explain how they added value in the past year, without first checking that they are in sync with the whole reason WHY their clients are paying their fees?

Is it because they assume the value they add will be determined purely on how they perform in the beauty parade of investment returns? Is that why they’re paying us all?

Also, isn’t it ironic that because the majority of our clients have investable assets (or superannuation sums) that we assume them all to be investors? Just because I have a garden doesn’t make me a gardener, does it?  

How to identify your advice clients? They take your HARD advice.

You don’t build an advice business but just dispensing easy advice.

You build your advice business by successfully delivering the hard advice because that’s the advice that usually counts most. It’s hard to be confident that your clients really are ‘advice’ clients if they have only ever taken the ‘easy’ advice you’ve provided.

During booming stock markets up to 2007/8, financial advisers who had converted to advice-based business models (i.e. fee for service) sat back and watched their firms flourished. Many believed they had found the foundations to build great advice businesses. But, they were delivering relatively easy advice.

Just like you don’t become a sailor but just sailing calm waters, these firms didn’t become real advisory firms by just being in the right place at the right time. It’s little wonder that these same firms have tremendous difficulty attracting clients when the advice is hard due uncontrollable economic conditions.  

It’s not just interest rates…what about wealth rates?

Hasn’t there been a lot of noise about how the banks aren’t automatically passing on recent Reserve Bank reductions in interest rates?

What about the quiet pillaging the banks and fund managers are doing on wealth rates?

Where’s the noise on that?

For instance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Housing Finance Report of 2011, the average home mortgage size is $284, 400.

Therefore the recent 1/4 percent drop in rates announced by the Reserve December 6th would save approximately $710 per year for the average mortgage holder – not a bad saving and understandable why people are having a crack at the banks for explanations why it won’t be automatically passed on in future.  

The new value proposition for financial advisers…

Some financial advisers are searching for a new value proposition as one might search for a lost set of car keys.

Others are searching for their value proposition as a golfer frustratingly tries to regain their former groove and rhythm when their swing was smoother, more consistent and the handicap was lower.

Fascinatingly still today, there are other advisers content to sit back on old, ‘proven’ value propositions and wait for the certainty the pre-2008 marketplace provided them.

Tragically there are other advisers whose focus isn’t preparing a new value proposition at all. Their future focus isn’t their advice clients. Their search is for a ‘product’ partner who’ll pay them to join, or stay. These advisers aren’t building advisory firms, they are building financial product franchises similar to a Toyota dealership. That’s an OK model, provided nothing is being hidden from the client that inevitably affects the financial advice.  


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lorem ipsum s simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more
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