Tactics to help advisers succeed in 2020

By Ravi Samalad |  27-12-19 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

Wealth management industry in India is undergoing a tectonic shift. We are on the crossroads where margins are coming under pressure, robo advisers are capturing market share, client expectations are changing, and regulations are changing at a swift pace. To remain competitive, advisers need to be on their toes to capitalise on new business opportunities. Here are some strategies to help you draw up your business plans for 2020.

1. Business Plan

Advisers prepare financial plans for their clients based on their goals and risk appetite. Similarly, as advisers, you should have a business plan in place to achieve your professional goals. Ideally, a business plan has to be a written document containing where you want to see your firm perhaps 1-3 years down the line and how you would go about reaching those goals. Your plans may not work out as desired, so always have an alternate plan. A business plan is not a static document. It should change and evolve as opportunities come your way.

2. Invest in Business

Business requires capital and a certain time to break even. New advisers need to look at this profession like any other business. Many advisers shy away from investing in their business. Investing could be in the form of hiring new relationship managers or investing in research/back office software or spending on marketing.

Spending on something may not immediately yield results but it can pay rich dividends in the long run. Most successful advisers set aside some portion of their revenues for investing in their business. As the competition from online investment firm heats up, independent advisers have to up their game to grow their business.

3. Go Digital

The rise of internet and smart phones has increased consumption of information through social channels like Facebook, You Tube and WhatsApp. Advisers too have to recalibrate their marketing strategies in line with emerging trends. They could adopt any medium like Blog, WhatsApp, Facebook or LinkedIn to augment their online presence.

Most people like to do a background check or read reviews about products before making a purchase decision. So your prospects too might look up your profile and services on the web.  Remember that in order to project yourself as a thought leader, you need to educate people through your analysis and perspective and not push products online.

Apart from social media, you may also consider moving client transactions online by collaborating with stock exchange platforms to see how it can increase efficiencies.

4. Delegate

Financial advisers have a lot on their plate. They have to bring new clients, retain existing ones, manage staff and more. While some advisers are able to effectively carry out all tasks single-handedly, others may find it difficult. If you have a retail client base you can only grow my adding more clients and increasing wallet share from existing relations. To grow your business, you need to delegate tasks which may not be as important to tackle them yourself.

Trying to be in control of everything could be one of the reasons for your practice to hit a roadblock. Businessmen own multiple companies and they have people who manage operations successfully. So you have to focus on where you can add value and delegate other work to your team.

5. Investor Education

While the industry is doing its bit to increase awareness, many advisers are also actively conducing investor awareness programmes to connect with prospects. As compared to five years back, the awareness about mutual funds may have increased but investors still need guidance on securing their life through holistic planning like having a term plan, health insurance, having a will, cut down on expensive debt, etc.

Interacting with clients one-on-one will help you clear a lot of misconceptions they might have. If you haven’t conducted an investor education seminar yet, consider giving it a thought. Start on a small level and you can scale up as you conduct more events. If the audience appreciates your content, they would definitely end up being your client.

Diversify

Just as diversification helps reduce risk in a portfolio, advisers too need to expand their offerings to minimise risk from offering single product or having a few large ticket clients. Imagine the risk of a single client who accounts for a sizeable portion of your AUM walking away.

Further, margins on all products are declining. Thus, it makes sense for advisers to expand their services/product offerings. If you are only focused on mutual funds, consider offering other products/services like insurance, AIF, PMS, estate planning, tax planning so that you are able to retain clients.

Cybersecurity

This is one area which is perhaps not given so much attention by advisers. As technology is evolving rapidly, the threat from phishing, malware and online fraud has increased tremendously. Client information can come on the dark web. As advisers, it is your duty to protect client data from being misused by hackers.

Advisers should act now to protect their business from the increasing threat from cyber-attacks. At the basic level, advisers need to ensure that they have corporate firewall, anti-virus protection and a secure computer. Have documented processes perhaps by taking help from a software services firm on having a risk management framework from cyber threats.

We hope you found these tips helpful.

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