Stretched environment limiting ability for BDM/PDMs to add value

business development manager BDM financial advisers licensees

5 March 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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Business and practice development managers (BDMs/PDMs) believe they are stretched too thin in working with financial advisers and are dissatisfied with their roles.

The fourth Business Ready survey by Business Health found both types of managers feel they are spread too thin and being asked to service too many advisers, which is limiting their ability to add true value.

Some 43 per cent said they have seen their workload increase between 10 per cent and 25 per cent in the past year, and 24 per cent said it has increased by more than 25 per cent. As a result, 69 per cent said their satisfactions levels have decreased significantly or marginally over the period.

One reason for this is the number of financial advisers they are now working with; PDMs working for a licensee said they typically service between 51 and 100 advisers, and none feel they will be able to service any more than 100. 

The number is typically more than 100 for a BDM working at an institution, with some 40 per cent saying they work with between 101 and 200 advisers and 43 per cent servicing more than 200 advisers. 

“While this is obviously a function of the types of services offered along with the time taken to deliver, it was interesting to note that both cohorts thought the number of advisers in their panel should be reduced. 

“Two-thirds (64 per cent) of managers now conduct virtual meetings with their advisers on a monthly or quarterly basis. There remains a strong in-person component nevertheless with 92 per cent holding at least two adviser group functions per year.” 

The report also noted almost three-quarters (72 per cent) offer a “distinctly different level” of service to their top-tier advisers, including more focus on recruitment and planning or coaching.

The most popular service offered to all firms is technical help and advice, followed by sales and marketing assistance. But for top-tier firms, the most common is business and strategic planning, then recruitment help and training and professional development.

Business Health said: “The differentiated high value services offered to ‘A’ class advisers include helping practices recruit staff, assistance with business/strategic planning and succession planning, training and professional development, and business coaching.

“While just 5 per cent of BDMs assist their advisers with compliance and/or advice monitoring support, just over half (55 per cent) of PDMs still offer this service. This remains very much a specialist area and the skill set required to deliver best-in-class advice compliance along with all the other elements of service offer are exceptionally diverse. Are we asking too much of our managers to be exceptionally good at all of these critical functions?”

It recommended firms to consider how many advisers or practices it is reasonable to expect a manager to work with in order to maintain a deep relationship with them and still be able to deliver meaningful value.

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