Most advisers that I’m talking to have had another strong year in 2021. You’ve attracted some new clients, your existing clients have needed reviews and sometimes revised product solutions to reflect their changed circumstances, and markets have performed well again in 2021 resulting in increased trail income.
But it’s not all one way traffic… I’m hearing many stories of processes taking longer than they should because of service challenges with some providers, an ongoing struggle to retain and recruit the right staff and clients requiring more of your time. Some of you are creaking at the seams a bit and working flat out. Taking on new clients in a real challenge now.
So where does this leave you for 2022? Service issues will continue, the demand for good people is only increasing and who knows, but markets may not continue their steep upwards trajectory. If you won’t have room for new clients, how are you supposed to continue to grow your income in 2022? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Review the services you offer
It always come back to your proposition and what you offer to clients… Business usually goes a little client from mid-December to mid-January. Use this time wisely. Are there more valuable services that you could offer, which would allow you charge more? Or are you delivering the right services to your customers, but they are simply not aware of them as a result of poor communication by you? If you can improve your proposition and your clients’ knowledge and engagement with it, can you deliver additional services, charge more and comfortably justify doing so?
I suggest you take some time out to review your proposition and how you are communicating it. You may be pleasantly surprised when you actually visualise the depth of services that you offer and the value that you are adding.
2. Attract all of the client’s assets
Financial advisers often tell me of the frustrating situation in which they are only managing a portion of a client’s assets. I just don’t really get this one to be honest… Yes I can understand that a client may think they are better off having a few advisers and not having all of their eggs in one basket. However, isn’t it the adviser’s job to manage the diversification challenge on behalf of the client?
This situation sometimes arises as a result of an adviser having been happy to simply get a new client on board, even when they are only getting a portion of the client’s overall assets. But how can you advise the client properly when you are only partially informed? Surely this situation can result in a completely misaligned portfolio? And this often completely undermines the future cashflow planning, which is rendered pretty meaningless if you don’t have full visibility. Even if you don’t manage the assets, you need full information about them.
Work on your script with clients where you know or suspect you are only advising on a portion of their assets. Your client needs to be crystal clear about the disadvantages of you not having full visibility of all assets.
3. Cross-selling opportunities are important for you and your clients
Sometimes it’s easier for an adviser to position her/himself as an investment specialist or a retirement practitioner. But then the adviser can be a little reluctant to step outside of his or her specialist knowledge zone and advise in other important areas such as protection etc. Too often I hear, “I don’t really do much protection / investment / pensions” – this is usually down to the confidence of the adviser in delivering in these areas as opposed to the profile of your clients.
Yes of course you need to be confident in your capability to provide excellent advice in these other areas, but this is not really a stretch for many advisers – it just might be down to working on increasing your knowledge. And it does not undermine your positioning as an expert in your main area of specialisation. Clients should expect and will be grateful that you are watching their back in these other critically important areas too.
4. Increase your rates
When did you last actually review your advice rates? I see enormous disparity between rates charged (particularly ongoing trail) by different advisers, often when there is little or no difference in their propositions.
Sometimes it’s a case of one adviser having set their rates ten years ago when the economy was on the floor, and not having revised these rates since then, while the other adviser set their rates in recent years when the economy was on a steady growth path. So is it time for you to look again at those rates you are charging – are you selling yourself short for the value that you’re delivering? This starts back though with your proposition – is this good enough to justify higher levels of trail?
I wrote recently on this topic – have a look here for some thoughts on increasing your rates.
These are just a few ways in which you can look to increase your income in 2022. The next step is to do some more detailed planning around each of them. The very best of luck.