Should planners get into business advice?

Financial planners giving advice to business customers need to look beyond just dealing with their personal wealth generation but must also consider providing advice around cost savings within their clients’ businesses, according to Robbie Bennetts.

Bennetts, the former chief executive of Professional Investment Services and now the chief executive of computing and multimedia firm, onPlatinum ICT, believes that planners will not be meeting the best interests of their business clients unless they help them find cost savings within their businesses.

He said he believed the goal posts with respect to client best interests were about to move with the result that not only do planners and accountants have to think of super, life insurance, saving, retirement planning and all the asset classes, they would also have to think about clients’ business expenses.

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Bennetts said he believed planners risked being exposed for not acting in the client’s best interest if they did not address such an important subject.

In doing so, he claimed that if an adviser could find a way for a business client to save up to $3,000 a year in business-related expenses, this would be tantamount to the earning power of $1 million.

“Your client will be better off, they will enjoy being told that this is equivalent to having a substantial amount of additional funds working for them and at the end of the day this will increase dynamically revenue for advice businesses and their dealer groups where involved,” Bennetts said.

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Seriously, what would any adviser know about running someone else's business.
Is that the same as an accountant looking at the P& L of a newsagency and telling his client to buy the business just because the figures might stack up.
There are reasons why someone is successful in a business, where there are intangibles such as the ability to engage with customers, that a new owner may not be good as at.
And yet an accountant who has never run a newsagency, thinks they know how the business runs anyway.
I'm not quite sure why Mr Bennetts thinks this is something advisers should even consider.
Most aren't even capable of running their own businesses.

It's not about running it, merely a sounding board for your client. I wholeheartedly agree with the article - if your client owns a business, it's likely the focus of everything to them - family, cashflow, legacy.

I wouldn't suggest business/taxation advice be provided without a tax agent involved, but a trusted financial adviser can certainly be the conduit in getting the discussion rolling to the benefit of the client. Note that the discussions here are generally structure related, rather than operational/marketing strategy. That's what the clients do and why they have the business in the first place! (You'd hope)

Not for everyone though, I'd suggest it would take a highly experienced business person to facilitate such discussions, rather than any financial planner. I've seen other planners do fantastic work in this space.

But don't Accountants know "everything" anyway? just ask one!

Let me tell you most clients have no idea where their customers are sourced from.
Many spend hundreds of dollars advertising and not one that I've ever engaged can tell me how many customers resulted from those advertisements. Yet they continue to spend the dough anyway.
They may have an accountant but very few get involved in business management with their clients.
From experience, when I ran an advertisement for another business that I owned, I never had less than 10 new customers respond. The first 2 paid for my advertisement, the next two paid for my staff and increased overhead for taking them on but the other 6 were my profit.
What's being advocated here isn't the same thing.
What you're suggesting is that a financial adviser has an innate ability to act as a business coach for any business .

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