Opportunity to grow adviser client base

There are opportunities for financial advisers to grow their client base this year as the regulatory environment will be more stable and most have settled on the chosen advice model for their business, according to BT.

BT chief executive, Matthew Rady, said the last two years had seen introspection across the industry while advisers worked out their new advice model and whether they would continue practicing as advisers.

“Questions on whether advisers will be self-licenced or will be supported by someone else have largely settled for advisers who have committed to stay. Product providers and advisers alike have been inwardly a little bit too focused on our own internal business models and not focused enough on the clients and the people that matter,” he said.

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“This year's sense and what I hear from advisers is that this is a foundation year for them in re-pointing their focus now that their business models are settled now that they've made decisions in the way they want to run their business in client experience and client outcome.

“That's a great thing for clients and hopefully we're in a period which I wouldn't expect is going to be stable, but a relatively stable to what it's been in the past.”

Rady said advisers he had spoken to were optimistic on the future given markets had been buoyant over the past 12 months and that there was demand for advice.

“The general feedback is that advice clients are pretty satisfied with the services they're getting from their advisers which is helpful,” he said.

“Secondly, despite fewer advisers in the industry demand for advice has not dampened. So, there are opportunities for advisers and we're seeing advisers genuinely growing. For those that have elected to stay the opportunity to grow their client base is strong and that's what I think they see into 2022.”

Rady noted that in terms of platforms advisers were looking for strong capabilities for managed accounts as it was becoming “the dominant way advisers were investing” and for platform providers to “get reporting right”.

“Financial advisers want us to be a consolidated way of providing advice, providing their clients with the financial information that demonstrates the value they've added. And so, having flexible reporting, and having reliable reporting is something that's absolutely critical to them,” he said.

“Advisers typically have discretion over their client portfolios and they want flexibility to be able to make wholesale changes across their portfolio. Some advisers are looking for more tailoring than others and they want one more flexibility in the way that they can tailor portfolios and still make collective changes.”

For BT, Rady said this year would be a significant journey for the platform provider in identifying a new owner and simplifying its platforms.

“The BT migration to Panorama was a very significant investment and the next 12 months is really important because of that consolidation simplification,” Rady said.

“Simplification work enables BT to focus on much more functional delivery for advisers, and improving the service that we're offering to advisers.

“Our focus this year is on functional enhancements that advisers have been waiting for and we're excited by, for example, some of the reporting changes and transparency work that we're doing to enable advisers to identify where things are at with us and I think that’s super exciting over the next 12 months.”

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So suddenly these people are our friends? Panorama was designed to replace the adviser and work direct with the client, sorry...our client. The idea was for the self employed adviser to bring in new businesses and once set up on the APP goodbye adviser, hello BT. Nothing new, remember YourProsperity with MLC/Flexiplan. My statement above is not made up, this was picked up at high levels after some of the big guns have had a few too many after conferences. Hold your clients close to you, folks.

We closed our books to new clients.
Better relationships/clients, less risk, improved profits and less stress.
Isn't that what all us business owners work to attain?
You can always have more clients, but at what cost to you will they be?

Spot on, Reality. Exactly what we've done. This article isn't about us, it's about the kpi targets these people need to meet, and they're finding after treating us like dogs that we're not about to run back and make their lives better now that their robo and general advice plans aren't quite working the way they expected. We exist for our clients, not for fund managers and BDMs.

As someone that deals with BT I concur 100% with Matthew Rady that BT have not been focussed on their clients. It would be interesting to know if BT think their client is the adviser or the consumer however they have not been focussed enough on either in my opinion.

Duke you make an interesting observation about platforms wanting to go direct. In the early 90's the advice market was very concerned about BT the fund manager going to the market place direct and skipping advisers as per Fidelity in the US at the time.

That was the genesis of advisers setting up platforms so that rather than fund managers having full access to all the personal information of our clients the platform was in the middle protecting us from the potentially marauding fund managers. Now those same platforms are becoming the threat for the same reason.

Partially due to regulation some of the platforms have become more difficult to deal with and some want to wave the big stick at advisers. The problem they will have is the technology is so much better today than the early 90's so from an adviser perspective we dont need platforms now like we used to 30 years ago so the platforms themselves are in grave danger of becoming obsolete.

Whilst everyone thinks that the new legislation is bad for advisers I think it has always been targeted at the bank owned super funds. The banks know this and have sold and now with less advisers some of those funds ($100's of billions) will flow to the advertising which is the Industry Funds. The advisers that are trying to retain the funds were they are for whatever reason are being treated as the enemy by the platforms and that is where there is a lot of friction between adviser and platform however now more than ever before the adviser has more choice of who to use and why.

To me this has been the aim of successive governments since 2007. Kick a planner has unfortunately been good politics for a while so the current government are happy to take the short term headlines that kick an adviser brings.

I think there will always be a place for advisers who want to provide financial planning advice as our system is complex so advisers will be in strong demand and have good choices. I would rather be a planner than a product provider today.

Couldn't agree more, Andrew. Looks like you've been in the trenches with us dealing with these people. At some point they saw our clients as their clients. I tried to explain to the CEO of a large platform once that it's us that are their clients. Response was calling me a f$%^&ing financial adviser. No joke, this from one of the big 4. Captures the attitude completely.

Panorama has been a disaster.
It will only calculate performance figures from when the clients funds were transferred over to it (which we had no choice in). So my client who has used BT Wrap for 6 years can only get performance reports for the past 7 months. We pay platform fees so you can provide us reports. Early promises to rectify this have now stopped and were told we are stuck with how it is.
A BDM told me the reason they can't do performance reports is because the old system calculated performance differently. Makes you think, there must only be one way that is correct.
Oh and finally the new product is exactly the same as the old Wraps, it is simply a new more modern desktop. Yep it's a new GUI.
I'm actively looking to leave BT now.

Do not believe a word they say…ever.
They are coming to get your business as they have done in the past.
If pain persists…see a Doctor.

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