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Comment: How taking on extra roles is helping IFAs

Comment: How taking on extra roles is helping IFAs

Guidance on setting up businesses, getting involved with charities and finding event speakers are increasingly becoming requested by clients of financial advisers.

Having been in financial services since 1985, I have seen the demise of the trusted bank manager that had power and authority to make decisions and offer worldly advice on business matters. The void left by the bank manager and their contact database has been filled by quality financial planners, who can provide guidance to clients and their families that goes beyond financial matters.

With a strong professional services contact database, a trusted adviser is only one link away from a skilled contact that has demonstrated the same ethics and values. They should therefore be a good fit for a client.

Across the spectrum

I have had the following requests for guidance from clients:

  • Do you know anyone who can help me with overseas insurance on my World War Two truck for the D-Day Landings anniversary?
  • Can you help a family member gain work experience at……….?
  • I am looking to source a motivational speaker; please can you point me in the right direction?
  • Do you know a high-level facilitator that can work with the national board of an elite sport on their five-year business plan?
  • To recommend media training for the head of a professional sports union.
  • To provide a framework proposal to start a charity for a professional county cricket team.
  • To source access to a sports science laboratory for two separate sporting disciplines.
  • To facilitate permission for a food supplier to have a stall at a major sporting event.
  • To help structure ownership of a stage school and agency.

I was able to help with all of the above.

Treading the boards

The stage school is a fascinating example. It started with an existing client’s concern that she and her siblings could inherit a family business that incorporated various functions in the entertainment industry. The intended beneficiaries had neither the expertise nor desire to manage the family business.

I was asked to meet the owners with my clients, listen to their priorities and concerns (preserving the brand, wrapping charitable status around one of their sacred assets etc.), and understand the structure of the company. Although a helpful summary of pensions and investments was produced at the meeting, we recommended specialist professionals with knowledge of entertainment and charity sectors, starting with accountants.

Theatrical productions and the day-to-day running of the stage school took a short-term priority, new accountants were interviewed to ensure transparency and have now been appointed.

We will revisit the current owners of the stage school in early 2018, after business year-end matters have been concluded. We can then start working with the family to discuss the type of board they need and who should run the businesses on a daily basis.

The most important thing is to ensure the current owners are spending time on the truly creative aspects that bring them the greatest pleasure.

A more personal touch

Many of our clients want to become involved with executive coaching, non-executive director roles with start-ups, coaching local sports teams, mentoring school children, or becoming trustees at charities. This is because more clients are wanting to make a difference and give something back. Flexible working and the rise of the gig economy are also making it easier to take on roles and hobbies.

A relationship between the financial planner and client has its origins in sound, practical flexible financial planning linked to agreed financial objectives. But it has evolved into a deeper, more challenging, more wide-ranging and more enjoyable role for the planner.

Stuart Doughty is director of Centurion Chartered Financial Planners

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