I’ve written previously about the need to dig a little, to get to the heart of a company’s value proposition – to prove what they say they will do, for the fees they want you to pay.

It seems that, for any number of reasons, this is what a whole lot of Australian advisers will now be doing as they consider moving from their current licensee.

If this includes you, I hope that the following insights (gained by Business Health’s work with advisers over the years), will help in your decision-making process and give you the best chance of choosing the right option for you.

  • Recognise up front that the decision to remain or leave your licensee is not one to be rushed in anyway as it can often prove disruptive to not only your business’ operation but also to staff and clients alike. In fact, for many, changing licensee is the most disruptive of all events.
  • Even if you have found yourself unexpectedly without an authorisation through no direct action of your own, and the pressure is on to get authorised as quickly as possible, consider the old adage – “more haste, less speed”. Sometimes by trying to do things too quickly, it can often take you longer in the end. Finally, it’s critical that you communicate with your clients during this period and if some need advice when you’re without authorisation, perhaps they can be referred to another adviser in the interim?
  • Before making any move, have a clear picture of where you want your business to be in say 3-5 years. Sounds so obvious and should be reasonably easy but… according to Business Health’s latest analysis just 38% of Australian practices have a clearly documented 12-month operational plan for their business, with only 35% having documented plans for the next 3-5 years. Yes, there’s plenty of work to be done in this area.
  • Put together an “information memorandum” for want of a better description, of everything that a licensee would want to know about you and your practice. Best to have this in place before someone asks for it.
  • Decide what are the top 5 ‘non-negotiables’ you’re looking for in any move.
  • Time to go to the marketplace – consider outsourcing the initial search to an independent expert. Let them do the legwork to identify potential partners. You still have a business to run and this kind of work can often prove very time consuming. Especially if you’re considering obtaining your own AFSL.

Once the short list is drawn up, you’ll need to personally evaluate whether a prospective licensee can help you to fulfil your plans. Surveys conducted by the licensee within their own network can be very useful in evaluating the offer – how do its advisers rate the service, support, and so on?

Don’t be distracted by the licensee’s fees. The real question is – am I getting value for what they’re charging?

Finally, communicate throughout the evaluation process – proactively, positively and professionally to clients, staff and referral partners. Keep them abreast of your progress and final decision, the reasons why and how it will/won’t impact them.

For your consideration,

Terry Bell

Business Health Pty Ltd