Does the size of the advisory firm you choose really matter?
In the second of Russell’s blogs, he explores whether bigger is always better when it comes to financial advisory firms in the UK.
A blog from Russell Skinner, APFS CFP™ Chartered FCSI (Financial Planning)
Chartered Financial Planner and Managing Director of Blue Sky Financial Planning
When you’re searching for a financial adviser or planner, there are three main considerations:
- Their reputation and professionalism
- Finding a firm (or adviser) who is knowledgeable about your specific issues
- Ensuring that you can resonate on a personal level with the firm and adviser
This guide gives you a simple but effective process to finding your ideal adviser.
Big players versus smaller players
Here we are referring to the size of the advisory company you may be considering. The big high-profile brands are not always the best. I believe experienced, well-run smaller players are much more agile and therefore able to create exceptional and unique client experiences.
Before Blue Sky transitioned into an Employee Ownership Company (EOT) in December 2022, offers were received from larger companies wanting to purchase Blue Sky. What was very evident from this experience was, due to their size and their inbuilt processes, many couldn’t replicate what we do for our clients. In other words, our clients would have cascaded, in our eyes, into an inferior service.
On saying that, we also identified that the bigger companies could bring ‘economies of scale’ which isn’t necessarily available to smaller companies. It was our emphasis on culture and continuity which was the determining factors for choosing the EOT structure for our next chapter. Read more about that here.
We can understand that big brands may also feel safer for many clients, but you are often at the mercy of advisers changing roles and companies getting sold or merged with other organisations. The business needs of these companies are the biggest determining factors here, and not necessarily clients’ needs.
The smarter an adviser is, the better!
There are many great advisers out there and not all of them are client facing. There is an essential role called a para-planner within good advisory firms who writes reports, conducts research into what is possible and develops client planning scenarios. They work closely with each adviser/planner. Sometimes they are the smartest people in the business!
The key, in our eyes, is to ensure that every qualified person plays to their strengths, client facing or not.
Certainly, industry qualifications are important, and they may help you narrow your choice of adviser somewhat. At a time when many people are extremely well qualified, it can be difficult to differentiate one adviser or firm from the other based on qualifications alone. Looking at the whole team is therefore key.
Industry awards may also identify good firms as they give credibility. The problem for clients is that with so many awards out there, it’s not easy to identify those which are meaningful. We’d say Customer Service awards are what really matter.
As a trusted voice in the financial sector, Brett Davidson of FP Advance, suggests “if you can find a small to medium size company that has a strong team, great culture, and a future proofed business plan, then you shouldn’t go far wrong. The founders of these businesses have usually left a larger organisation to do it the right way”.
More about Blue Sky Financial Planning
Here at Blue Sky, we are an independent financial planning firm with registered IFAs and wealth managers within our employed team. Regulated by the FCA with an impeccable reputation for client services and no upheld complaints, we thrive on making our clients’ hopes and dreams come true. We take a holistic approach wherever possible and only recommend products and services that will serve the end goals of the clients. You can learn more about the Essence of Blue Sky here.