Brokers have several options for diversifying, but will doing it yourself or outsourcing work best for your business?
Industry opinion is divided over whether brokers should diversify by developing new skills, or simply expand their business offering by engaging other staff members or referral partners.
Is it possible for brokers to do it all? Or should they stick to what they know and do it really well?
The Adviser spoke to two brokers who are taking very different approaches.
Anne Clarence, owner of Advanced Financial & Accounting Solutions, loves to learn and become the expert herself.
Ms Clarence is a broker, certified financial planner and estate planner. She has completed several courses, and in addition to helping clients with their home loans, she advises on life risk insurance, superannuation, managed investments, securities, deposit and payment products and retirement savings accounts.
According to Ms Clarence, the more educated she is, the better she can service her clients.
“My job is to educate my clients,” she says. “The reason I continue to study is so that I can educate them and give them advice in as many areas as possible.”
Ms Clarence has not encountered any business issues or objections from clients in adopting this approach. It fits her personality perfectly, she says, because she loves to study – and it has even helped her business run more smoothly.
“A broker who is only a broker is a ‘bankie’ to me and they’re just answering clients’ questions,” Ms Clarence says.
“Unless you’re giving advice, I think it’s a bit of a token effort when you’re just a broker.”
The other option, of course, is to develop solid referral relationships and offer additional services to your clients through other professionals.
“Based on all the legislation and requirements, it’s one hell of a task to offer everything yourself,” Ballast’s Mr Paratore says. “I’m not saying it can’t be done, but brokers need to really think about what option will best work for them.”
Rhion Bennett, director at West-Corp Finance, has a variety of referral partners, from financial planners and builders to a business that takes care of clients’ budgets.
“For me, it’s about management of time,” Mr Bennett says. “I don’t have the qualifications or the time or the brain power to be able to handle everything efficiently, so I’ve chosen to be a specialist in my field.”
According to Mr Bennett, brokers who take this approach need to connect with quality professionals and ensure they are in contact with their clients throughout the process.
The best option
When it comes to diversification, industry opinion is split.
“I believe that people need to play to their strengths,” says Mr Paratore.
“More brokers should be diversifying; it’s just a matter of whether they use referrals or look at integrating it themselves.”
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