Troy MacMillan, a Certainty Adviser from TWD (The Wealth Designers) in West Perth has won many industry awards for the quality of his firm’s financial advice. But that’s not what he considers to be core to identifying valuable financial advice.
For Troy and his team, valuable advice must display at least four recognisable characteristics – regardless of who is providing the advice.
#1: Advice can’t be valuable if the value is determined by the adviser, not the receiver.
“If the adviser isn’t annually positioning her or his advice on the achievement of very specific outcomes meaningful to the client, then that advice may be more valuable in the eyes of the provider.
“Value isn’t based foremost on the performance of funds, cash flows, or structures,” says Troy. “The best performance of the advice should be seen as a given, rather than a differentiator. Outcomes of those structures, funds, and cash flows are what your adviser’s value focus helps enable.”
#2: Valuable advice must be individually relevant.
“At TWD we constantly meet prospective clients where former advisers just addressed the specific needs and wishes of just one member of the life or business partnership. Handling what is relevant – individually, not just collectively – is crucial for value to be continually created.”
#3: There must be true commitment to follow-up to ensure advice is not just delivered but taken.
“Taking advice is differently to hearing advice. If your adviser is not ensuring that all elements of the advice are not being undertaken (both the easy and hard habit-changing elements), then the advice isn’t valuable.”
#4: Any questions must be rooted in very deep understanding of why the advice is needed.
“What or who might be roadblocks to the advice and the deeper meaning that progressing financially actually means must be discovered by the adviser. Hopefully none of our clients would complain that our advice approach is shallow or just based upon specific adviser-client personalities!
“While we are proud of TWD’s awards, they are really confirming our own journey, rather than testaments of ability. Unfortunately, many in the current financial services industry don’t deliver advice which is valuable.
“We are committed to building a model that changes the perceptions and understanding of what truly is valuable financial advice.”
Troy and other Certainty Advisers recently researched and produced their April 2017 white paper What Price Valuable Advice? which highlights the sort of financial advice clients value.
About Jim Stackpool
For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.