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Don’t let poor compliance ru(i)n your business

Allowing poor quality compliance to run your business can lead to greater cost and poor communication and service to clients, argues Brett Davidson, MD of FP advance

Whatever you do, don’t let poor quality compliance people tell you how to run your business.

How do you know if you have poor quality compliance people advising you? They can only work to the ‘letter’ of the law; they never seem to understand the ‘spirit’ of the law.

I’m no compliance expert but I feel very comfortable in stating that the regulator wants you complying with the ‘spirit’ of the law. What is the spirit of the law? Put the customer first and give best advice every single time.

Begin with the end in mind

If you begin with the end in mind your focus, when designing your advice process, is on delivering great outcomes for the customer. When you focus on delivering great outcomes for the customer amazing possibilities open up, like:

• Presenting information without using lengthy, unreadable reports (maybe in power point or Prezi)

• Using videos presentations to explain important concepts (rather than wordy standard paragraphs)

• Live cashflow modeling – where the client suggests changes and you make them right then and there, so you can both see their impact and explain the ramifications.

If you let a poor compliance person design your process you end up with a legalistic, convoluted load of garbage that neither the client nor the adviser can make head or tail of. I’m sick of seeing this rubbish out in the market place. Here’s my advice if you have someone like this doing your compliance: Sack them and get someone good. Don’t put up with it for a minute longer.

(If you are not sure of who the good guys are and want an introduction drop me an email to

If you want to run a great advisory business designing a great advice process is key.

Here is what happens

When you start with the client in mind you can design a far simpler process, for both you and the client. The client gets information in a way that is easier for them to understand, which by the way leads to more sales. However, you and your team get to streamline some

of the most time consuming aspects of your job – writing reports.

Designing ‘what’ you will do for a client (your recommendations) takes a few hours. Putting it into writing can take a business all day. What impact is this having on your profitability, not to mention your job satisfaction or the satisfaction of your staff?

Re-designing your process in the way I’ve described doesn’t mean you will never put advice in writing, of course not, but it does mean that you will think long and hard about the best way to communicate information (without a thought of compliance in the first instance) and then ensure that your client-friendly process now complies. You will also think about ‘when’ any written information is provided to ensure it doesn’t get left too late, or go out too early, which in many cases bamboozles clients.

Many large scale compliance services are aimed solely at the lowest common denominator adviser. If you are not one of those advisers then get yourself away from compliance advice that doesn’t serve you, or push back harder to get some common sense applied to you and your business.

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