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Adviser Workshop: How to identify unnecessary costs
by Jun Merrett on Jul 28, 2011 at 09:33
Andy Jervis (pictured), Dante Peters and Martin Strutt discuss various methods of cutting unnecessary business costs.
Director, Chesterton House Financial Planning
Our productivity took a big step forward several years ago when we started recording time spent on clients’ affairs. We were shocked to find how much time, and therefore cost, was being spent in preparing and holding regular review meetings.
One of our primary concerns was that different financial planners were happy to create their own little sub-systems around our process, meaning that we were not only continually reinventing the wheel, but also delivering wheels in many different shapes. This issue has come to the fore over the past two years as we have assimilated two other practices into our business.
Trying to get experienced, headstrong and independently minded planners to agree on common processes can be worse than pulling teeth, but we have seen a number of efficiency gains as we have managed to hammer out processes on which all of our team can agree.
Being more time efficient
Perhaps the most significant issue that arose from our analysis of recorded time was the amount of time and effort being put into one-off transactions or queries that arose in between our normal client meetings. Rather than seeking to respond to client queries immediately, our starting position is now to ask whether this is something that can be put on the next meeting agenda, the date of which has typically already been agreed. Obviously there are some things that cannot wait for attention, but it is surprising how few these are if you stop to ask the question.
The key is to be clear about client expectations and to explain the consequences of actions. Over time, clients can be trained to work in a way that is better for them and significantly more time efficient.
Director, Magus Wealth Management
We have always used technology as much as possible as a way of driving down costs.
We have done a cost saving exercise in the past, and the result was that we now have a remotely hosted server. We used to have three servers in our office, but the expense added up. We had one server for one function and one for another.
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