Many advisers start off by structuring their businesses by trial and error, to see what might work.
But what if I tell you there’s a way to skip the experiments and proceed with a structure that’s proven to work?
Good stuff, right!
In this article, I provide you with the ideal business structure specifically tailored for Advice Practices with One (1) Adviser and multiple support staff.
Building a business structure is critical to any growing business. It’s the framework that dictates job roles and decision-making responsibilities. It helps the business move forward with the least expense and smoothly.
Let’s face it, even though you have the business vision, there are roles you cannot force yourself into. It’s good to be an enthusiastic jack-of-all-trades, but juggling all tasks might stall your growth or leave you burnt out.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a critical insight into running your company.
Direct your focus on doing what it is that you do best and find the right people with the right talent to assist you.
Whether you are in Financial Planning, Mortgage Broking, or an Insurance Planning business, this structure will help you strengthen your own virtual workplace.
Below, I share with you how each role is ideally incorporated into your business practice.
Being an adviser is a whole combination of responsibilities in itself. Other than servicing clients by giving professional financial advice and solutions, you are also managing client relationships and maintaining the business practice.
Additionally, as the highest-ranking executive in the company, you are responsible for making major business decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of the company, planning overall growth, delegating tasks to other managers or various departments, and lastly, hiring staff.
Being the Adviser/CEO, you are considered to be “the brain” of the company. It’s a ton of work and responsibility, which is why you need to have the “body”, or in this case, the right people, to execute and perform their tasks well.
1. Sales Advisers
This department is responsible for generating and attracting new clients whilst making sure that the services you offer are well-presented and well-received.
In the advice practice, sales advisers focus primarily on client prospecting and building client relationships.
While you are responsible for giving the actual professional advice, your sales adviser is responsible for onboarding new clients and making sure that they understand your process and practice. They are also responsible for initiating new business meetings and finds you a way to build and widen your client network.
In our company, my business partner Ed Arguelles and I are in the frontline of building client relationships. I do most of the business management and Ed takes care of the onboarding for client prospects and new clients.
This department tracks the finances and ensures that any gains or losses are appropriately managed and circulated.
The Finance Office role can be filled in by an offshore staff – ideally, a Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines who is knowledgeable about the use of XERO.
3. Practice Manager
This department oversees and manages all offshore operations.
Your Practice Manager is your 1st Virtual Assistant, there to take care of coordinating and delegating tasks to other team members. This staff will also be your main point of contact for any admin-related concerns or tasks.
The Practice Manager is also responsible for reviewing staff performance, training, and coaching.
Under the Practice Manager, there are the following available roles:
You can get SoA Paraplanning outsourced to a company specialising in detailed financial planning strategy SoAs. This is the best option if you’re not ready to hire an in-house or offshore full-time paraplanner at the moment.
It’s easy to find firms that offer this service. A simple “Googling” will give you a great number of options. The fees vary depending on the number of SoAs you need in a week and the number of hours the paraplanners allot to it.
Your practice manager will handle communication to any outsourcing firm of your choice and make sure that the documents are complete, accurate, and are compliant.
General Admin Virtual Assistants
You would need additional staff to focus on specific aspects of administrative work. Having enough people in your team allows room for backup, in case some of your staff are not able to come into work.
Here’s my suggested task allocation for 3 more staff:
2nd Virtual Assistant
Your 2nd VA is your SoA Paraplanning support. This particular staff will take care of Risk SoA, simple super switching, rebalancing, etc.
Here are other tasks they do:
✓Updating client paper and electronic files, ensuring that they are compliant
✓Completing, checking, submitting, and processing the necessary application forms
✓Preparing basic SoA’s such as life insurance only and superannuation rollovers (for strategy-based SoA’s we can establish a relationship for you with specialised SoA paraplanners)
✓Preparing Record of Advice
✓Entering client data into financial planning software
✓Liaising with fund managers, administrators and life companies regarding client’s financial situation
✓Assisting with research into client recommendations
✓Monitoring stationery, ensuring always sufficient supply and not out of date
3rd Virtual Assistant
Your 3rd VA will handle administrative tasks relating to Implementation and Underwriting. They will also take care of handling any post-completion process and concern.
Here are other tasks they do:
✓Contacting clients for outstanding underwriting or admin requirements, contacting insurers when changes need to be done on the application (name incorrectly spelled, DOB, address, etc.), making sure policies go into force as soon as possible
✓Ensuring regulatory compliance of Sales Paraplanners and Advisers
✓Reviewing and submitting the application
✓Verifying all documents are completed/signed fully and correctly
✓Scheduling client appointment
✓Managing medical requirements
✓Organising/following up on any outstanding requirements (e.g., financial documents, superfund details, rollover forms) if applicable
4th Virtual Assistant
Your 4th Virtual Assistant will handle both inbound and outbound calls, email management, scanned mail, online notification, and other ad hoc administrative work.
Here are other tasks they do:
✓Managing incoming emails, mail, faxes & message bank
✓Assisting with client appointment booking, researching into the client, recommendations, quoting, processing, filing, and preparing client documents
✓Liaising with fund managers, administrators, and life companies regarding client affairs
✓Client service e.g. attends to client query and request
✓Maintenance of client databases and creation of files
✓Assist with management reporting on a monthly basis or as required
✓Processing applications, renewals or changes to existing client records
✓Ensuring regulatory compliance
I also added an auxiliary role to support sales. I have made this department a stand-alone, granted that the task can be one-off or outsourced part-time, rather than full-time.
4. Marketing & Lead Generation
Basically, this department is responsible for handling Digital Marketing campaigns and lead generation.
Digital Marketing has already been a constant effort of business who wants to keep their practices social media relevant.
Your Marketing & Lead Generation department can be handled by a part-time Virtual Assistant in the Philippines who has knowledge of different Digital Marketing campaigns. It’s a great bonus if you can find someone who knows how to manage your website and produce content.
Part of the task includes getting email contact from LinkedIn, Facebook, or other sources.
Other tasks may include:
✓Updating the website feature without the need for coding
✓Building email marketing campaigns
✓Creating and managing social media accounts
✓Writing digital content for blogs, articles and other social media posts
✓Writing, publishing and managing blog content
✓Generating reports from MailChimp, Facebook and Google Analytics
For all of you planning to start your own advice practice, it is important to start with a firm foundation. However, as your business develops, it’s just natural to make adjustments to adapt to any change that comes with growth.