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Australian NEWSLETTER APRIL 2018

Stop and smell the roses:


Sometimes it’s a bit like not being able to see the forest for the trees; there’s so much happening in the world of financial services, all the time, that the tendency can be to focus on the challenges (problems) and overlook the ‘good stuff’.

Each principal of Business Health talks with advisers every day, attends seminars and conferences and gets to hear first hand of the ‘other side’…the good things being done that are positive, innovative and making a meaningful contribution to the financial, as well as personal ‘health’ of their clients. And adviser’s clients confirm this when they complete our confidential client survey (CATScan).

So, in the interest of taking time to smell the roses, here are some of the great positive things we’ve seen advisers deliver over the past 12 months…

1. Educative, relevant and meaningful information for clients – the growth in this area continues to impress:   

  • Provision of checklists, calculators, case studies and articles to inform and educate – at no cost to the client – often downloadable, easily accessible.
  • Client seminars, webinars and workshops – their scope has gone well past financial planning and investment commentary. They now cover other areas of importance and interest to clients – aged care, estate planning, divorce and address the personal side of ‘are you ready for retirement?’
  • As above, but utilising the internet, YouTube or videos to deliver content.

2. The extra mile – value-adding through complementary services:

  • Helping business owner clients understand their broader obligations (regulation, OH&S etc) by running complementary business discussion groups – with a wide-range of topics including social media and bullying.
  • One adviser we worked with last year, paid for a business consultant to conduct a 45-minute workshop on business planning fundamentals for his small business clients. There was no mention of any financial product or financial strategy, simply a discussion on operating a small business.
  • Another provided to all clients, guides on how to protect themselves from email scams, hacking and cyber security.
  • Workshops for teenage children of clients… workshops on managing credit cards, getting (and keeping) a good credit history, budgeting and so on. All the things parents want their kids to know about.
  • Client-to-client referrals: referring clients with a specialist skill such as graphic designers, travel consultants or plumbers for example, to other clients.
  • Acting where circumstances were appropriate, as a buyer’s advocate for their clients.
  • One practice holds a ‘Meet Santa in our office’ day, for the clients’ children. When matched with a gift wrapping service for the parents and a small donation to a local charity, it’s a win/win all round.

3. “The big dreams we’ve made come true”

  • Several practices we came across last year began their team meetings with a simple question – how did we help our clients last month? What a great, positive way to start every meeting… and clearly positions clients as the most important people in the business.

4. Improvements to the client experience

For clients, visiting their financial planner can be akin to their annual check-up with a dentist, but many practices are putting in extra effort to make these visits less confronting and more ‘friendly’. We observed:

  • Foyers with free WIFI and mobile phone charger facilities.
  • Allocated parking and personalised welcome signs.
  • Beverage of choice offered on arrival (info retained in the CRM).
  • Introductions to other people in the practice – especially comforting for the client whose adviser is fast approaching retirement.
  • Feedback sought after the meeting (‘how could we have done better?’).

5. Involvement in the broader community

  • Contributing to local community and charities – sponsorships, donations, allowing staff time off to participate in fund raising and so on.
  • Waiving fees for clients affected by a natural disaster – floods, bushfires etc. And, in some cases, donating to clients directly impacted.
  • Pro bono – encouraged so well by a number of industry associations and licensee groups as well as by individual advisers.
  • And, in a couple of cases, we noted practices had set up a foundation for a specific cause and contributed % of its fees.

6. Evolving business models

  • A number of practices we worked with last year, have responded to the challenge of an aging clientele by expanding their range of services to include (directly or through referral) areas such has estate planning, aged care and Centrelink.
  • Finally, we’ve observed both here in Australia as well as North America, a number of firms who are proactively marketing to millennials through a ‘financial coaching’ style service. While these clients don’t usually have funds to invest right now, they have an interest to learn about all matters financial for the future. And, of course, these firms will grow with their millennial clients; an ongoing revenue stream now, plus the opportunity to meet the needs of these clients throughout their lives – sounds like a model worth serious consideration.



What clients say… the ‘good stuff’

The following are actual comments written by clients when asked about their adviser in our CATScan client surveys.

Client: “Being a divorced woman with 3 children, securing my future was very important to me. I got a binder with 4 different options …the detail that went into all this was amazing. I was able to check all the figures and made the best decision for me. She is wonderful and explains everything completely. I always feel confident in my financial future.”

Client: “[Our Adviser] is responsive, thoughtful, focussed on our needs and priorities, and always listens. He explains issues clearly and answers questions. We never feel as though we are wasting his time. He has been available to discuss a wide range of financial issues with our adult children. He maintains clear boundaries around confidentiality when relating to our children. We have total confidence in [our Adviser] and his advice.”

Client:“Very happy with dealing with [my Adviser]. He goes the extra mile for his clients and is consistently attentive.”

Client:“[Our Adviser] is a fine individual who is also a fabulous Financial Adviser. We, my wife and I, have full confidence in his decisions involving our finances. He has proven to be someone who really cares for our wellbeing and has proven this year after year. We are very fortunate in having him help us with our retirement finances.”

Client: “One thing in particular that we really like is the attention that is afforded to our children. It’s imperative that they receive sound financial advice at an early point in their working lives and have the support to implement the savings recommendations.”

Client: “I only wish we had started with the company earlier. Their strengths are their knowledge and understanding of the ways that their individual clients can achieve financial security and in our case prepare for retirement.”



Stats & facts… how clients rate advisers

The following stats have been derived from our CATScan client survey database.

  • % of clients willing to refer their adviser = 86%
  • % of clients expecting an ongoing relationship with their adviser = 90%
  • Highest rated key performance indicator (from 9 areas) = Relationship with adviser



Recent blogs… more from us




Your say…

Send us your insights and Ah-hah! moments (we love to hear about ideas that are working for you!). Prizes for those we have not heard before. Some we have heard recently…

  • It used to be a database, but now it’s a client management system
  • Inviting interstate clients to travel down adviser’s office (another state, warm and sunny – Florida) for review – ‘financial retreat’. A serious review, conducted in a very pleasant environment (better than the client’s home state, Ohio, in winter!). Recommended a place for dinner and ‘things to see’ why they visited over the week end.
  • Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.




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