One of the things I found most difficult in the early stages of my career was being clear about what value I provided to clients. Why should they deal with me as their adviser and what would justify them paying
a significant fee?

After quite a lot of soul searching and grappling with this issue, I realised that my (and now SentinelWealth’s) value to clients is simple: Our value proposition is to alleviate any anxiety around money, so our clients can be free to focus on their lives. This drives everything we do.

Knowing this – and having it genuinely resonate at a deep level – has not only provided tremendous guidance but also has made the development of our processes so much simpler. We work on a menu-based service model with agreed-upon annual retainers from our clients. As a result, we are confident that we are well positioned for the future.

The next decade will be the watershed years for the financial planning world. The standard of advice and professionalism of providers will surpass that of all other professions. It will be the time when we truly come of age and I impatiently look forward to it.

This will be a time when there will be many more self-licensed advisers, far fewer advisers in total, a much greater use of systems for leveraging advice delivery, and consolidation of personal financial services – fewer, bigger firms using smart methods and probably charging lower fees per client, on average.

It seems obvious that there will be no free lunches, where advisers earn revenue without providing genuine services. Smaller clients will be better protected by legislation and pay lower fees for the management of their super; I don’t think they will actually get any advice. Advisers will have a much greater understanding of financial psychology and there will be many more services provided in this area.

In 10 years, SentinelWealth will be unrecognisable based on what it is today. In one way or another, it will be much bigger, using sophisticated systems but with no change to the value proposition. We will have specialist advisers focused on specific areas of need and a large component of our services will address financial psychology, with at least one in-house qualified psychologist delivering a number of programs around what we call the interior of money.

As much as I can’t wait to see what it all looks like, experiencing the journey will be just as good.

Justin Hooper is managing director of SentinelWealth.

Join the discussion