As an independent financial adviser looking to build your business, inheriting a more established adviser’s book can seem like a perfect way to secure and grow your client base. While this can be a great opportunity, it’s also one for pause and reflection. In order to truly benefit from another adviser’s book (with the result being happy clients and a successful business), there’s quite a bit to consider before you jump straight in.
A successful takeover of another adviser’s book requires patience, diplomacy, and careful research into the clients and the previous adviser’s practices. Here are a few practical tips for those advisers who have been afforded this time-consuming but potentially rewarding opportunity.
Five tips for taking over client accounts
1. Get to know the clients
Just because a client has had to let go of their adviser (perhaps an individual they have had a relationship with for years), does not mean they will happily just move over to you. As you know, the financial adviser/client relationship is a delicate one and clients will need to trust you (or at least believe that they will trust you over time) in order for them to stay the course. Start by taking the time to discuss each client with the previous adviser and collect as much information on their personality, needs, and challenges as possible. Even better if you can get a personal introduction / hand-over.
2. Make the professional connection
Rather than just taking over a book, it’s important to make time with each new client you’ve gained – introduce yourself to them, preferably face-to-face, and make sure you have a clear understanding of their current financial situation, expectations, and goals (for planning, consultation and communication) from their side. Assure them of your best attention at all times, ask all the right questions to put them at ease and ensure you will serve them well, and establish your relationship as one of professional care from the start.
3. Take time to review products and practices
Not every adviser works in the same way and it may surprise you to find that you do not know the previous adviser’s preferred products or wealth and investment management practices as well as you should or could. Put aside substantial time to learn about the savings and investment strategies used in this new book and how you will continue (or not) to use them going forward, and have your reasons at the ready for clients.
4. Don’t neglect your current clients
While you are busy learning the new angles of this book, don’t forget your current client base – doubling your clients might also mean doubling your efforts to stay in touch with both new and old so be prepared to work harder and longer while you are achieving this new balance in your business.
5. Review your succession plan
The handover of an adviser's book (in the case of their retirement, move, or death) will most likely have been part of their succession plan. Make sure that you have your own formalised succession plan in place and that it can accommodate this new book as well.