James Harvey Associates – Case Study - FP Advance - A Boutique Consulting Firm

James Harvey Associates

James Harvey

Net profit per client increases by 290%

Business net profit increases by 131%

Owners income increases by 53%

Up-front planning fees up 90%

James Harvey now runs a one financial planner, one office manager lifestyle financial planning business in Ealing. His turnover is £330,000, 80% of which is renewable income.

He works from 8am – 5pm, taking two sailing days per month and around 8 weeks holidays every year.

Challenges facing James Harvey

  1. Getting the charging model right

    James was finding it hard to drop the shackles of commission to move into the new fee based world in a way that was financially rewarding for the business. He hadn’t taken a salary rise for four years.

  2. Getting the service offering right

    James knew what he was doing but he found putting it down on paper an art that he needed help mastering

  3. Deciding on the shape of the business

    One adviser or multi-adviser? James had one other adviser and a paraplanner working with him. Could he afford to support them?

  4. Marketing

    James came from a world of cold calling which he was quite good at. He also thought that networking was an excuse for not working. Now he was being told “Don’t cold call!” A conflict with his principles.

What did James Harvey do with the help of FP Advance?

In James’ words …

  1. I developed a one page business plan with Brett Davidson which set the course for the coming 12 months

    As part of that we kept a more sophisticated (yet simple to use) set of management information (MI). Checking progress to plan each month really kept me focused and helped in making some of the tough decisions that were necessary to improve.

  2. I created a documented client service offering

    I used the FP Advance template and worked hard at making it personal to us. Individualisation was key.

  3. We became a one-adviser business

    This was a tough decision and I feared what it would do to my revenue and profit, but my gut instinct was to focus on me and my style first. My interest in the Kinder – life first approach – wasn’t for everyone and I knew it had to be at the heart of my business. Now I have been through the pain and have my model in place, I can see how I may have room for some like-minded people to work with me and expand what I now feel is a robust business model. This was never clear before I took the actions I did.

  4. I grasped ‘marketing’ with two hands!

    I let the experts lead me. I couldn’t see it, but when they showed me the way, it became obvious. First we re-shaped my identity. We focused on my life planning style and came up with the very personal and simple message: “Ready to listen”.

    Then, we looked at how I should market myself. This included asking my clients for referrals. Working with their other professional advisers, advertising in our very targeted local magazine and … grasping the art of networking.We also had a client party, rather than a seminar and have focused on entertaining our top client referrers.This is taking the relationships even deeper.

    My new website makes it more obvious what is on offer and helps me filter any new prospects.


  1. Pricing was firmed up but matched with an obvious improvement in the look and feel of the business

    Net profit per client has increased by 290%, business net profit has increased by 131% and most importantly my income has increased 53%

  2. Improving our service offering has been attracting more of the right types of clients. Annual revenue per client is up 68% and assets under management per client are up 96%.

  3. Re-shaping the business and simplifying everything has been fantastic

    Top line revenue held up, even with one less adviser. Our gross profit margin is up 19% and net profit is up 131%. Total overhead is down 17% and cost of sales are down 30%. I am now in a position to grow again if I want to, but from a sound foundation. I could never have done that structured as I was previously.

  4. The marketing work we did is paying us back quickly

    My business now looks great and this has given me some real pride when talking with new and existing clients.

    They notice the changes, believe me.

    Our up-front planning fees are up 90% in the first 4 months, year on year and I can put all of this down to the marketing work.