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Advice Efficiency
3 MIN READ

Advisers just don't have time

Tamara-Morey's avatar
Tamara-Morey
Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner
7 months ago

Or do they?

TNT Group took a poll of attending advisers at the recent FAAA Congress, asking them about what's hindering them from producing more advice. The answer will likely come as no surprise: time.

That's time to see more clients, time to get work done for existing clients and time to attract new clients.  This is not new data and I’m sure many advisers are feeling this same pressure.  But if we are all spending – more or less – a full working week committed to our craft, why are some advisers finding this harder than others?

We all start with the same amount of time; what these advisers are really lacking is capacity.

Adviser capacity is determined by a number of things: their support, experience, motivation and quality of processes, just to name a few.  But even the most sophisticated practices, with skilled support teams, find themselves with limited adviser capacity.  And to be frank, it’s crippling our industry. 

Advice production is costing more than ever before but most advisers are still taking on too much administration.  There are fewer advisers available to a growing number of Australians needing advice, yet our adviser-to client-ratios are stifled.  We’ve never been more inefficient as an industry. 

We must release capacity. 10 years ago, it was commonplace to see an adviser servicing more than 300 ongoing fee clients and doing it well.  What happened? 

Now, we’ve all heard the reasons why ‘those days are over’: 

  • the Royal Commission
  • legislative reform  
  • fee agreements
  • increased compliance
  • and so on, and so forth

Sure, the advice process takes longer now. And it all feels so much harder. But the biggest impact on capacity doesn't come from any of these changes – at least not directly. Rather, it is from a common trend of adviser reluctancy to "let go". 

The fear of "getting it wrong" (the advice, that is) and relying on someone else (the support team) to get it right leaves many advisers holding on tight to tasks that should be done by others. They’re holding onto the strategy creation, product selection and research and, in extreme cases, even the paraplanning and implementation. But at what cost? 

When advisers are challenged on this, they often express a sense of obligation – that this is their role as an adviser.  But it really isn’t, actually. 

Does the client care who types out the plan request? They don’t. Does the auditor care who produces the product comparison? Highly unlikely. How much of the reluctance to let go is an adviser’s own self-imposed limitation versus opening their mind to what can they do differently? 

I’m yet to meet an adviser who doesn’t want to earn more money, have more time off or help more clients. So what’s stopping them? A lack of trust? Is it "permission" to hand over those tasks they don’t enjoy? Or is it industry data stating that average client numbers are falling, which then allows the adviser to hold onto the excuse?    

When, as a profession, will we catch up to our medical and legal friends and value our professionals’ time as they do? It’s time to re-imagine the adviser’s role and re-calibrate the way they spend their time. And that time needs to be client-centric, not compliance-centric. 

Updated 7 months ago
Version 2.0

2 Comments

  • Anne-Graham's avatar
    Anne-Graham
    Icon for Advisely Index Top 10 rankAdvisely Index Top 10

    Thanks Tamara - I really like the points raised in your article and personally feel the pain and the conflict you've observed. I'm a recovering control freak though and realised some time ago that by trying to do everything, no-one is happy. Advisers need to let their support team, do what they are best at. It's a learning process for everyone but well worth the effort. The team improves their skills, they are proud of the work they do, the clients are looked after better and the adviser can advise. I think medicos and the legal profession have done better at this due to their fee models. When you are clocking your time every 6 minutes, you quickly learn where best to spend it.

    • Tamara-Morey's avatar
      Tamara-Morey
      Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

      Thanks Anne.  And yes, that's a really relevant observation of those professions.  Let's hope Financial Advice professionals can achieve the same insight into the value of their time without needing to adopt the same tedious accounting model!

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