Jason Williams, Head of Distribution at Blackfinch Asset Management, looks at the opportunities to redefine adviser businesses and the role of discretionary fund managers
As we navigate the upheavals caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all dealing with different challenges, particularly in working from home. I have taken on my own challenge of a new role as Head of Distribution at Blackfinch. It has reinforced that whether looking after our loved ones, upholding social distancing measures, or establishing new routines, our work revolves around keeping ourselves and others safe and well.
Similarly, this time before lockdown ends can also be a time to reflect on the health of your business and its future. This might seem counter-intuitive, what with work having slowed for many of us and most clients having gone to ground. However, this quiet period could provide the space needed to redefine your business. And if you offer your clients outsourced investment solutions, your discretionary fund manager (DFM) will be integral to this process. You may need to ask the question, is your DFM provider doing enough for you?
PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS
The starting point in answering will be your clients, and how well your DFM is helping you to protect them. While the markets present a grim picture, it’s useful to remember, as summed up in an Einstein quote, that, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. This is the case now, and something that we at Blackfinch want to share with advisers.
Our unique literature has been designed to educate and inform clients of the potential journey their portfolio may take through all stages of an economic cycle. However, during this market crisis we looked to provide additional support through examples and educational pieces that help reassure clients around historical recoveries following market drawdowns and the importance of remaining invested, not trying to time the market. Whilst we acknowledge the importance of basic market commentaries to help retain clients, we believe the right investment partner should do more to help you attract new clients.
Making the case for staying invested or making new investments might not be the easiest of client conversations right now. However, the data is compelling and using it could make all the difference in reassuring clients old and new. We provide figures for advisers to share. These show how the FTSE 100 recovered after events including the global financial crisis and, more recently, the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
ANALYSE, EVALUATE AND IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS
Having taken these steps with clients, it follows to ensure that your business is well positioned to serve them during this time, into recovery and beyond. An assessment could cover many aspects. These might include looking at how to generate new revenue streams, increase efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance, refresh your brand, expand your client base or set out exit and succession plans. Core to many of these will be considering whether your current centralised investment proposition is adding value to your business.
At Blackfinch, we deliver support to advisers and help them grow their businesses alongside meeting clients’ aims. Our service was built from the ground up with Blackfinch’s adviser network, to ensure it meets the needs of advisers as well as clients’ aims so we are well positioned to understand many of the issues you face.
As part of that, we deliver a partnership programme focused on advisers and their businesses. This can take many forms. It ranges from supporting advisers on the strategy behind their business model, to opening up opportunities through jointly hosted events or with professional connections. It might also be about gaining further qualifications or developing a tax specialism through working with our in-house experts.
On a day-to-day basis we remain highly accessible, which our partner firms value, particularly at this time. The service is aligned with adviser processes and includes tools that enhance the client experience, while our teams are on hand to provide swift responses to queries.
PLAN NOW FOR FUTURE SUCCESS
As one of the few investment firms that chooses not to have in-house advisers, we are purely dedicated to serving the adviser market. So, we have the expertise and capacity to make the most of the opportunity presented by lockdown. We know that now is the time to provide advisers with the extra support they need to reconfigure their businesses.
However, in partnering with advisers, we recognise that making plans during such an uncertain time isn’t easy. Just as it will be uncomfortable for clients to remain invested, some advisers may find it difficult to map out plans when the road ahead is so unclear. Yet planning is essential in order to ensure that adviser businesses don’t just recover but can grow and sustain growth over time. Looking into potential new areas and possible new connections, or making other preparations, can serve advisers well at this point, and we are here to help with that.
We believe in this approach and continuing to forge partnerships, applying it to our own organisation as well as the advisers we work with. Blackfinch’s values of ‘adapt’, ‘evolve’ and ‘thrive’ have enabled it to weather many changes in the market, often turning them to its advantage. The team offers direct experience in what it takes to reconfigure a business, and ensure it not only survives but grows stronger.
We are continuing to expand our capabilities in order that we can offer more advisers more opportunities to grow their client base and business, starting in lockdown. We will keep you updated on the significant new developments happening at Blackfinch.
If you would like to use this time to make changes to your business, get in touch.
Blackfinch Asset Management Limited is an appointed representative of Blackfinch Investments Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered address: 1350–1360 Montpellier Court, Gloucester Business Park, Gloucester, GL3 4AH. Registered in England and Wales company number 11639647.