Checklist for Advisers on the Move

Financial Advisers generally don’t enjoy having to move network or firm. It can be disruptive for your business; can unsettle your clients and can sometimes lead to cash-flow difficulties. Quite often though, the decision to move is forced upon you as a result of closures or changes leading to the network or firm no longer meeting your needs and expectations.
If a move is on your Horizon, here are 5 key considerations to help you decide:

1. Value for Money

Whilst it’s important not to pay over the odds, if it’s too cheap there’s usually a reason. Make sure you fully understand the membership costs. If it’s all inclusive, are the services that you are paying for relevant to your needs? Are there any hidden extras such as regulatory fees or software subscriptions that are charged separately?
Making a comparison between providers can be difficult as charging structures vary, but as this could be one of your largest overheads, getting it right is vital and can make a significant impact to your bottom line.

2. Stability and Longevity

Advisers will often become unsettled when their network or firm changes direction or ownership. This can result in preventing you from accessing certain products or providers and can lead to you either having to change business model or move elsewhere.
Make sure you understand the history of the business and who owns it. This can reveal some tell tale signs of which direction it goes to in the future. When was the company established? If it’s owned by another company, where do their interests lie and how will this influence what you do? Ensure the long term-term plans of the company are aligned with yours and check for any past regulatory problems (reviews or sanctions) that could indicate potential risks in the future.

IFA Network

3. The Right Fit

Making sure your preferred business model is catered for is imperative. If your preference is providing independent advice then look for a network or firm that will support this over the long-term. If you prefer the simplicity of a restricted solution then thorough due diligence will be required on the solutions available. In most instances this will come down to what your clients will expect of you.
Some additional areas to check will include the charging structure and client ownership. Your regulatory status may also be affected so if you are switching between direct authorisation and appointed representative make sue you understand how this will affect you.

4. Support Services

Although the range of support services available from networks and firms will vary significantly, as an experienced financial adviser you should have a clear idea on the services that you need and will benefit from. Therefore getting to the detail and getting this right can make a real difference to your workloads.
If compliance support is important find out what system is used, what percentage of cases are checked, is pre-approval available and are there any restrictions? Also what are the qualifications held by the persons completing the checks? Is a helpline available to discuss cases and then once submitted, how long is the turnaround and how soon will you get paid?

5. Feel Good Factor

Having kicked the tyres and narrowed down your search the final consideration comes down to your gut feeling. You’ve met the team and (hopefully) the heads of the business so how did they make you feel? Did you feel valued and can you see yourself working with these people over the long-term? Have you spoken to other advisers to get a feel from them? Ultimately, does it feel right?

There are going to be other factors specific to you that will influence your decision but by doing your homework and planning for the long-term your next move will hopefully be the last, or certainly one which lasts a considerable time