The role of the adviser is to provide advice on financial solutions which will help a client at what will probably be the most exciting or tragic moments of their lives.
After all, ask any person to list the worst things that could happen in their life and I bet most of them are things which a professional adviser can help them deal with (financially at least).
What if an independent researcher asked 100 advisers at one of the seemingly endless stream of industry events we all attend, the question “who do you work for?”, I wonder what answer you’d get.
“For myself” or “for XYZ firm” would probably be the top two answers. But on a moment’s reflection I hope we’d see some at least saying answer three, “for my customers”.
We have long had a saying at L&G that too many people work for themselves, rather than their customers. We have seen in the past advisers who chase the mortgage deals paying the top procuration fee or biggest protection commission rate and then adapt their advice to best fit their customer recommendation.
But if you truly put your customers front and centre – if you consider what’s in their best interest (the phrase the FSA has rather sadly felt it important enough to set out in the MMR) you will still meet answers one and two above. In other words, in satisfying your customer you’ll also do well by your firm and you’ll do well by yourself.
Of course, this may mean at times making sales that don’t pay you as much as you could otherwise get or, at times, not making a sale at all. But it’s a positive, long term approach which should build client trust and confidence, not just satisfy a short term income imperative.
Customers who recognise the value of what you have done for them will tell friends and family, and will return to you again and again. Now wouldn’t that be a brilliant place for our professional industry to be?
Some of Legal & General’s most successful firms are built upon this model based on long term, trusting, client relationships. Trusting client who return to their trusted adviser again and again and introduce friends and relatives to them too.
Perhaps “who do you work for?” is a question that should be on a piece of paper over every adviser’s computer screen.
And to this question, there really only is one answer.
Duncan Crocker is managing director at Legal & General Network