Reaching success client by client

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“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

That is the mantra that Financial Wisdom’s Mark Ballantyne runs his licensee by, and believes it is the key to its success.

The licensee has grown by 45 practices over the past year, increasing funds under advice by 31% and premiums by 5%.

Ballantyne says he began the role as head of Financial Wisdom essentially the same day that Minister Bowen released the first FoFA paper. Straight away, rather than a hurdle, he saw the opportunity to use FoFA to improve client engagement and adviser success.

“It’s an environment that encourages client engagement, it encourages fee disclosure statement conversations, it encourages businesses doing well from referrals,” he says. “Sometimes the best way to describe your challenge is your opportunity, and the challenge is, how do you thrive in that environment.”

FoFA will be all about client engagement, says Ballantyne, and things that drive engagement are the quality of communication, the relationship with clients, and the ability to explain concepts, fees and charges in a way that they understand.

Financial Wisdom client satisfaction surveys also show that quality of good support staff has become more important to clients. Ballantyne says that it is not just the adviser interaction, but the interaction with the whole office, that impacts on the client.

The advisers that have joined Financial Wisdom are business owners, whose clients ultimately come from the local community and relationships the adviser has built, he says.

“So what you stand for, your passion, your beliefs, your purpose, your principles are very important, and how you execute that in the way you do what you do, is very important.”

He calls this the “why” of advice, and says that advisers who have a strong ‘why’, will have greater client engagement and greater success, but that it is a long introspective journey.

“[Advisers] have used the FoFA deadline as a good deadline to improve these things. It’s encouraged everyone to improve, which is great. The exciting thing about this is it gives us the opportunity to see improvement for many years to come.”

There is a slight shift of focus that Ballantyne would like to see from advisers however.

“There’s a lot of Australians not getting advice out there. I don’t think we should get too hung up on that. If we lift our sights and reach higher, there’s a lot to give advice to.

“There’s a big opportunity out there if we just take this story one client by client, one family by family, one business by business, one community by community.”

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