David Andrew is CEO of Capital Partners, and advisory firm based in Perth in Western Australia. In the latest in our series Quickfire Q&A, David shares some of the lessons he’s learned in building a successful advisory business — including the importance of ‘winning the talent war’.
Who has had the biggest impact on your professional development, and why?
Many years ago I was mentored by a fantastic guy by the name of Eddie Lees. He was ‘old school’ in a sense but decades ahead of his time in terms of his commitment to putting client interests first. He helped me make ‘client first’ a way of life.
For you, what is the most valuable thing a financial adviser can offer?
A trusted relationship where the client knows the adviser is totally committed to helping them achieve their goals. To achieve this the adviser needs to help the client find clarity of purpose. Only then can the client move forward with confidence.
What has been your biggest regret as an adviser or business owner?
In truth I have very few. If anything I have been too timid.
Which decision has had the most positive impact on the growth of your business?
To share. Many advisers and business owners aren’t truly committed to helping their people grow and become leaders in their own right. Our objective to ‘win the talent war’ is all about finding, developing and retaining tomorrow’s stars.
What is the biggest mistake that business owners make in building a successful advice firm?
The don’t invest enough in the future. I see many advisers who aim for ‘good enough’. They gather assets and revenue, but just aren’t committed enough to providing clients with a superb experience. Great advice business require intelligent thought, planning and investment in people and infrastructure.
Should traditional advisers view robo advice as a threat, an opportunity or both?
For traditional asset gatherers who invest money but don’t provide true comprehensive advice, I’d be really concerned. That disintermediation will take ten years but they will really suffer. Advisers committed to providing superb relationships and quality problem solving will retain their clients, and will use robo-investment platforms to their advantage in gaining efficiencies and delivering lower cost to client. (Note, the use of robo-investment, not robo-advice.)
What sort of content do you share online, and which has been the most effective?
We share everything! As much as we can put online, we do. We view this as our commitment to education and in turn, we are developing a respectable social media presence. The next step for us is long-term lead nurture off the back of this content.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your professional use of social media?
Once a ‘loose’ comment is posted, it is hard to get it back! Seriously though, social media is for the long haul. You can’t dabble. Be in it, or don’t bother. Our website traffic is growing dramatically and we expect this to provide commercial returns as the early signs are positive.
What do you expect to be the biggest change in the advice profession over the next 20 years?
Where do I begin? Increasing regulation, margin squeeze, global financial Armageddon.. Who knows? There will always be challenges but our mission is to be on the front foot.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out as an adviser today?
Choose your clients very wisely and do not accept a client who wants to tell you what to do. Be the professional, give advice and charge proper fees for the advice you give. If you can’t have the fee conversation, you will either hide behind commissions, or worse, have skinny children.