“You’ve given me peace of mind”.
It’s a familiar response that planners hear from grateful clients when the complex web of emotions that comes from out-of-control finances is unraveled with a straightforward, financial plan. We know as a result that there’s a strong correlation between mental wellbeing and having a trusted relationship with an adviser. It also pays off too, with clients working with a financial adviser typically 3%-4.5% better off a year.
It’s for both these reasons we at Octopus have long been champions of the value of in-person financial advice. We’ve worked with thousands of advisers over the last 20 years who’ve built amazing businesses on the principle of delivering high quality financial advice that clients love.
But we’ve heard time and time again from advisers that, as with many growing businesses, there’s a problem.
The bigger a firm gets, the less time founders and advisers have to spend with their clients. Running the business becomes the job. As advisers spend more time running a business there’s a natural ceiling to the number of clients they can look after.
At an individual firm level this may not be devastating but societally it means our best resource for closing the advice gap, financial planning, is in ever shorter supply.
The growing pains of running a business are varied but amongst the biggest is how to build technology and operational capability that scales with the firm. It’s a complex problem that – if solved – has the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of a business, reducing costs to clients, and allowing advisers to spend more time doing the bit of the job they love.
It’s all part of the fascinating, energising, exhausting and challenging journey of being an entrepreneur.
And at Octopus, we feel a real affinity with this – we’re run by entrepreneurs and want to chart our own course for the long term. It’s this independent, transformational outlook that led us to want to work with the passionate entrepreneurs that created Seccl, our investment technology business, and MoneyCoach, our financial coaching business. We’re all businesses that think in decades not years.
And I know that there are likeminded souls in the financial advice industry too. These are often advisers who have built a business that they are looking to scale over the next ten years and have already decided they want to continue to chart their own course. These advisers will, often, have considered the many attractive consolidation and exit options, and decided its not for them. Whilst consolidation might not be their bag, many of them also know that they’ll need support in scaling. We don’t think there are enough options to help those entrepreneurs. So, we’ve decided to launch an Adviser Accelerator.
It’s our next idea for how to get even more people feeling that relief from a trusted adviser relationship, by removing the shackles from the many experts we know do just that.
The idea is quite simple. Where advisers see gaps in their business, we’ll help them with technology and people from across the Octopus Group. This could be anything from helping embed Seccl at the core of the business to working side-by-side implementing operational solutions to help advisers unlock their growth. In doing so we can continue to share best practice and solutions across the industry – playing our part in building the future of financial planning.
Alongside this we’ll provide patient growth capital where it’s needed so advisers can continue to chart their own course. To be clear, we see this working for advisers who have decided that the other funding and growth options in the market aren’t for them.
My hope with the Accelerator is that we can partner with fantastic entrepreneurs whose desire to spend more time helping more clients solve their problems gets them out of bed in the morning and who want to work with a team who are passionate about improvingthe engine to fuel their visions.
I believe that by building an efficient engine, with Seccl as its core, we will be able to both power those advisers to build the businesses of the future and do so at a lower cost to the end client. A win-win in my book.
Advisers have spent years giving clients peace of mind so they can focus on what really matters, I think it’s high time someone did the same for them.
Ruth Handcock, CEO, Octopus Investments