Finding enough time to manage a business, as well as meet with existing clients and grow a client base, are challenges every financial adviser faces. Get the balance right by using digital tools and platforms and you can build a sustainable and successful business.
Time and trade-offs
Advisers who want to grow their client base face a conundrum: They need time to meet and service new clients, but they also need time to service their existing clients and run a business. And there are never enough hours in a day to do all three! Now, however, there is less need for compromise because it is possible to “bend” time as we say at 1Life, or in other words, use it more efficiently.
How advisers spend time
A time audit is a useful exercise to see where the hours in your day go. When you know this, you can identify areas where you can save time and/or use it more efficiently. Masthead has written about this topic in an article you can read here.
Financial advisers’ daily activities typically include:
- Client meetings
- Client meeting preparation and actioning any servicing and recommendations raised in client meetings
- Travelling to meetings and events, such as roadshows
- Business development and new client acquisition
- Professional development and training, including reading newsletters and blogs such as this one!
- General admin and financial management, such as managing your cash flow
A study by Michael Kitces found that advisers spend 20% of their time in client meetings, excluding preparing for client meetings and actioning service issues and recommendations made in meetings. This is as much time as they spend on admin or back-office activities! In purely technical terms, this means advisers spend only 20% of their time earning income and 80% on support and admin.
Support and admin activities are essential to running a successful and sustainable business, but should they take this much time, and is there not a way to find more time for clients – new and existing?
How advisers can maximise their time
Use the time you have more efficiently and more can be done in less time, without any compromise on quality.
Maximising time spent with clients and meeting preparation and actions
Client meetings are where advisers truly show their expertise and value, where you can help clients identify their financial goals and show them how these can be achieved. Take time on other matters, such as completing forms, and your time in the client meeting is not being maximised.
You can cut down on unproductive time by working with providers who have digital solutions and constantly innovate, such as using programmes and algorithms to shorten previously lengthy processes. Three examples we use at 1Life are straight through processing, intelligent underwriting and automated claims processing. The effect of these is that information is captured once, transactions happen in real time (there is minimal if any back and forth with a client) and decisions can be taken quickly.
Use these and you reduce the time of client meetings without any compromise on quality of advice, and as you can action requests immediately, post-meeting activity time is also reduced. Advisers also save time on compliance because there are online records such as FNAs and records of advice.
There's another benefit. Clients are increasingly looking for smart digital solutions and transparency. When everything is completed in front of the client and decisions taken in real time, they can see exactly what processes you are following and the outcome. This builds trust in you and the process.
Did you know? 1Life Insurance has reduced that time for insurance applications from 3 weeks to around 35 minutes.
Cut down on travelling time
This one is easy! Use online meetings. Zoom, Teams and other reputable meeting platforms weren’t just the domain of the COVID-19 era, they are time-saving and for many more desirable than travelling to and from meetings. You can also opt to attend some training and CPD events online, which saves on travelling time. At our recent roadshow, 25% of attendees were online!
Reduce the time spent on compliance and general admin
Minimising time spent on compliance isn't easy, but it can be done. 1Life, and other product providers have developed online systems to help you manage client lists, as well as commission, which reduces the paperwork and record keeping. In addition, 1Life offers different commission models to help you manage your cash flow.
Less time on non-core activities will give you more time with clients. Easy to store, manage and retrieve documents will also cut preparation time – whether it is for client meetings or completing compliance reports.
Another alternative is to outsource functions to an expert, such as compliance. The Kitces study found that advisers who took on an associate and outsourced work that didn't directly involve clients such as office admin, had over 60% more capacity to take on new clients. And, even after paying the associate, take home income improved by 80%.
Make sure you get it right
Spend time getting to know your tech tools. Ask for training on both practice management systems and product provider systems. When you know how these systems work and use all the options they offer, you can save even more time.
At 1Life we have digital tools that support straight-through processing, intelligent underwriting, and an embedded LISP that can help the adviser to spend more time on advising, which results in more success.
Find your best productive use of time
Ultimately, making better use of digital tools will help you become more efficient, productive and have more meaningful client engagements. You can use your free time to engage with more clients, spend more time with loved ones, or even upskill, such as becoming an investment or fiduciary expert.