We Work With Adviser Advocates

We Work With Adviser Advocates

July 25, 2022

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If you think about what advisers need to consider on an ongoing basis, it’s quite the list. Firstly there are the clients themselves. These people pay reasonable sums of money and entrust an expert to guide them through life’s important milestones. It’s no small feat. In order to get there, an advice document is forced through a laundry list of compliance arrangements. Finally after all this work, the implementation begins.

During this well worn process, an adviser will encounter four different categories of products on average in order to complete a piece of written advice. These are:

  • Insurance providers
  • Fund managers
  • Investment platforms
  • AdviceTech

At XY, we’ve been working alongside a small cohort of companies in those categories for a few years. These companies help us drive the positive evolution of financial advice by assisting us to create educational content providing immediate insight and benefit to advice professionals. As an adviser-first company, we are extraordinarily proud of the work we do with partners who make up our Corporate Community.

Each week our head of growth Danni Visser discusses our Corporate Community with potential new members. To give you a heads up, here are the most important elements of what we do, and why.

Time in the market, not timing the market

Introducing a new corporate member to the adviser community is a large step for us. Unlike other marketing channels, there’s an implicit level of ‘endorsement’ happening when new brands join our Corporate Community. One of the ways we can minimise the risk of introducing the wrong partner is to avoid fly by nighters. In other words, we want to make sure there is longevity in the relationship. Over 80% of our Corporate Community continue on past year one. But realisitically we’d like to lift that to over 90%. There is a level of security and authenticity with companies who continue to show up year after year. Our longest running Corporate Member HUB24 recently produced a documentary with us. Why? They have an unwavering desire to add value to adviser’s lives. We are confident this is true as it has been the backbone of every conversation we have had with them for over five years.

Compare this with other companies who come to us to say ‘we need 100 new advisers using our platform’. We can tell fairly early if a company is the right fit. For marketers in the financial advice industry, there are many transactional avenues available. We think they’re useful in a wholistic marketing strategy. Linkedin, Facebook, buying an email list, and advertising on the trade media all have a relevant place. But our approach is a bit different. We work with a Corporate Community with the intent to provide value back to the advice community. Short term arrangements aren’t particularly useful to this type of approach. It takes time as a brand to prove to an audience you are there for their benefit. Transactional work – being here one year and not the next, doesn’t provide the type of confidence we are here to instil in advisers. With the level of change they experience on an annual basis, we aim to provide a level of stablity.

We can’t work with everyone

The standards we hold above act as both a buffer to who can get in front of advisers, but also helps enforce our self imposed limitations. As we are a growing company, we can only deliver high quality outcomes on a limited number of pieces. Although we have an extended team to help us deliver on our separate product lines of articles, written thought leadership, regular podcasts, thematic podcasts, events, and documentaries – a limit certainly still exists. Are these limitations solvable? Certainly. As we continue to grow, I have no doubt our delivery team will double or even triple over the coming years, but we will maintain these limits. Why? Well, because it takes a long time for advisers to make a change. Not every piece of content will be valuable for every adviser. Not every message we send out will resonate with everyone. But, advisers certainly do make changes. It’s our responsibility to make sure we limit exposure to the companies that are here to build advice businesses. Below are the four categories we regularly work with, and the nuances of how decisions are made for each one.

Insurance providers

Insurance providers are without a doubt the easiest to mix and match. In fact, there is a mandate for advisers to compare insurers when deciding on a recommendation. As such, an insurance company needs to be on an adviser’s ‘insurance panel’. How is this achieved? Be everywhere all at once. Earn the right to be considered – then it’s the adviser’s job to decide which features and benefits are the most relevant for the client. The SoA production is the same regardless of which insurer is selected, and the small differences in implementation aren’t high enough to ward off adviser’s giving a new insurer a chance. As such, companies like Zurich have worked alongside us for many years to help us create amazing educational material. They are everywhere – all at once.

Ease for adviser to trial product: 8/10
Number of competitors in this category: 10
Limit of insurers XY will work with this year: 5

Fund managers

Fund managers are a little trickier to swap in and out. Not entirely, but certainly a little. The journey for fund managers starts at ratings. Who rated them, and what was the rating? After ratings comes platform distribution, and then finally – the holy grail, getting on the licensee model portfolio. So how do you make your way on to the platforms and licensee model portfolios? By bottom-up adviser demand. If you have enough advisers recommending your fund, it is going to make some noise at the AFSL level. And how do you find advisers to make some noise? Building brand is a great place to start. If no one knows about you, it’s hard to find traction. Getting the chance to put forward your investment thesis is obviously important too. Similar to insurance, the process of investing a client’s money doesn’t change too much depending on the recommended portfolio. Being seen, heard, and understood is where the difficulties typically lie. That’s a marketers job to solve, and why we partner with clients like Milford who provide our weekly market wrap up.

Ease for adviser to trial product: 7/10
Number of competitors in this category: 1,000
Limit of fund managers XY will work with this year: 15

Investment platforms

Investment platforms are where process really comes into play. It takes a much bigger commitment from the advice practice to give a new investment platform a trial. Why? Well, because how often do people enjoy using different systems of any kind. It’s why companies like Oracle are so big. Once a process has been embedded within a company, it’s difficult to change. If an adviser has been using a particular platform for a handful of years, they know where to go to solve a problem. In the event they use the platform for more than just implementation in the background and it is client facing – an adviser is even less interested in looking ill prepared in front of a client by not knowing where something is. Unlike an insurance or fund manager recommendation, this is a point of professionalism. An investment platform is an extension of the adviser themselves. If they are not proficient, it can lead to frustration. It is not a risk many advisers are willing to take. With that said, systemic adviser movements have proven an advantageous environment over the last few years for investment platforms. Companies like Netwealth have worked alongside XY to produce many pieces of education for advisers over the years. Being adviser advocates is one of the key messages they have used to much success.

Ease for adviser to trial product: 3/10
Number of competitors in this category: 10
Limit of platforms XY will work with this year: 5

AdviceTech

The numerous pieces of AdviceTech are probably the hardest category to get traction with. Plusses and minuses. It also means if you get the client, they are extremely ‘sticky’. The average adviser will recommend several different insurance companies during any given year. A couple of fund managers will be swapped in and out of an annual portfolio mandate. And advisers may introduce a new investment platform once or twice a decade. But changing an AdviceTech stack is like moving house, it’s like changing operating systems. PC people don’t like Macs. Mac people don’t like PCs. You don’t find people like to swap and change entire business processes very often.

As such, AdviceTech is the hardest category for a company to get traction with advisers. Yes, it is true most advisers aren’t happy with their current options. But it’s also true changing processes is a huge risk on the company. We’ve all heard stories about pieces of tech not living up to expectations, and the resulting fall out. The disruption to processes can be catastrophic. It goes without saying, more than any other category, brand awareness needs to equal the risk. Sales demonstrations will always deliver the clearest outcomes but helping advisers with educational content will help you earn the right to be there in the first place.

Ease for adviser to trial product: 2/10
Number of competitors in this category: 10
Limit of platforms XY will work with this year: 5

Does your company stand for adviser education?

Almost unanimously, the marketing solution to the difficulties above is getting infront of advisers with the message you’re here to be helpful. At XY, we specialise in fostering an environment where our Corporate Community are seen as relevant participants in the positive evolution of financial advice. Our promise to advisers is to continue to facilitate an environment where they can reduce the 10,000 hours to mastery. We don’t take this responsibilty lightly, and we extend invitations to companies who are interested in the long term upward trajectory of the profession. We don’t work with everyone – in fact we can’t work with everyone. But if your brand has the goal to be known as adviser advocates over the long term, please feel free to reach out to us here.

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