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Australian NEWSLETTER MAY 2019

Key takeouts from our 2019 workshops

We’ve recently completed a number of workshops in Dallas for the leading TPAs (Third Party Administrators) of our favourite US client. These workshops were all business focussed with no mention of our client’s products/services and with virtually no management in attendance other than two senior HO executives.

We began each session with a simple question – what’s keeping you awake at night? Across the various groups, three common concerns emerged – and they reflect what we have been hearing from Advisers here in Australia, so we thought we’d share some of the discussion outcomes and solutions with you.

The #1 Challenge: finding, retaining & rewarding good people

Consider:

  • Remuneration is much more than merely monetary: flexible working times, professional development, additional benefits (extra leave, healthcare cover) incentive/equity programs and ‘wow’ factors (why you are different to other employers).
  • Growing your own ‘culture’ will create the DNA of your firm.
  • While managing employees who are working from external sites (outside the firm’s main office) adds an additional layer of challenge, it doesn’t negate the importance of regular, meaningful and personal communication, which remain critical to staff relationships and your firm’s culture. Zoom, gotomeeting, skype and video will all help.
  • Hold half yearly ‘state of the nation’ meetings (progress to plan) for all staff – including all remote located.
  • Consider using an external benchmarking service to reinforce the competitiveness of your remuneration structure.
  • Emphasise the ‘whole package’ for employees and put a dollar value of the extras you provide such as 401k plans, funding of professional programs, additional leave days.
  • ‘Extra mile’ staff benefits included; volunteer leave, anniversary bonus, sick leave for pets, half day Fridays and ‘clean the house’ day for staff.
  • Check in regularly with your staff through a confidential, objective and externally managed survey (say at least bi annually).

Challenge #2: Finding new clients

Consider:

  • One of the most interesting features of the TPA ‘world’, is that their business is virtually all referred through financial advisors. So there was lots of discussion about how they could work more effectively with their advisor network – ensuring the advisor was cc’d into every piece of client communication, holding joint client events with advisers and producing an annual statement of benefits the TPA has delivered to the client (demonstrating their value) were all discussed in earnest.
  • The referral deficit. 93% of clients confirmed that they would be happy to refer their TPA yet only 13% actually have. Now that’s a deficit, which can be met head on by one simple action – ask for the referral!
  • There was acceptance (albeit ‘grudgingly’ for some) that there was a need to lift their firm’s online presence and position.
  • Developing a relationship of equality between advisor and TPA – wherever possible, ensure that both professionals (advisor and TPA) attend key client meetings such as strategy presentation and annual review.
  • Defined, consistently followed onboarding process for new clients (described by one advisor as his ’90 day dazzle’).
  • New client ‘boot camp’ – inviting clients to attend a two hour workshop on how their advisor does things (forms to use and when, who to contact and so on – all useful tips).
  • Acknowledge (and thereby leverage) milestones for clients, staff and referral partners alike. Benchmark to know; business performance, client and staff satisfaction levels.

Challenge #3: Cyber insecurity

Consider:

  • Given these businesses handle a host of financial data for their clients, they recognise that they are a logical target for cyber crooks. They’ve begun to look to their main product providers and licensees to provide guidance and support here.
  • Our client has responded most positively here by providing a useful guide, access to concessionally priced insurance cover and running educative webinars and training workshops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

60% of small businesses in Australia have experienced a cyber incident in the past 12 months

A frightening stat in the 2018 Chubb/YouGov Report on the preparedness of SMEs for their cyber protection.

As the Report observed, “Some SMEs believe they are too small to be targeted by cyber criminals or any internal issues will not greatly impact them. In effect, they think they are “too small to fail”. However, every report, survey or set of statistics on cyber events tell us that all businesses are exposed, whether big or small.”

It seems that it is becoming increasingly likely that if an SME has a security weakness, it will be targeted sooner rather than later. And given the nature of financial services which holds, as a matter of necessity, significant information about clients, surely financial advisers, risk advisers, brokers and licensees alike are obvious targets, which offer a substantial payoff for cyber criminals? 

siness Health, converting data into insights and proven solutions – so that you can know with certainty where your business stands today and what you can do to maintain, enhance and grow, in an increasingly disrupted world.

As to how SMEs can protect themselves from cyber risks, the Report offers the following tips:

  • Develop and enforce a strong password policy
  • Conduct regular training about cyber security vigilance
  • Update IT equipment and deploy security software
  • Create a Cyber Incident Response Plan
  • Recognise that good cyber mitigation strategies include strong governance processes, vendor management and employee education
  • Purchase Cyber Insurance

Note: In Australia, small businesses earning more than $3 million annually must comply with the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme that came into effect in February 2018.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Congratulations to the winner of Sentry Group’s 2018 Best Practice Competition winner

Wealth Connexion (Kangaroo Point, Brisbane) was a standout winner. A strong focus on its IT platform, great people culture backed up by a clearly segmented (and costed) client offer were key factors in its success. A great job Xan, Stuart, Elizabeth and team!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

      

Converting unique insight into practical, proven solutions

We offer a wide range of services, linked by a common goal – to improve the ongoing profitability of advisory firms. For further information about our services you can view our website or simply contact our office at info@businesshealth.com.

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