EXPERT WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Like most businesses I work with, Expert Wealth Management was already a high-quality financial planning firm, but they were looking for more, which is why they joined Uncover Your Business Potential (UYBP).
The two owners Dominic Spalding and Jonathan Hunt had known me for a long time from industry events around the country.
Then in 2018, by chance, we ran into each other one morning at the Pret A Manager near Great Portland Street tube station. It turned out to be an important encounter.
When they joined UYBP they were generating £728,000 of revenue, had around £80M of assets under management and had a headcount of 5 people, which included the two owners.
We wanted something to push us onto the next level. We had a few goals in mind and we had an initial call with Brett who blew our initial goals out of the water. He said you need to be more ambitious than that and encouraged us to think bigger. We liked Brett’s style and we thought we’d engage with him on Uncover Your Business Potential.
Here’s what I worked on with Expert Wealth Management in each of these areas:
We defined their core values and made sure everyone on the team understood the story behind them. Now the business ‘lives’ these values:
Getting the team right was the top priority.
While their revenue per staff metric was really high at £140,000, a high-performance number needs to be looked at in context (just like a low-performance one). It was clear the partners were too busy and had scope to expand the team.
Additionally, at £728,000 of annual revenue, the business was well past the point where a Practice Manager was required. Dom and Jonathan loved giving advice. They were less enamoured of all the other stuff that was now part of running and growing their business. So we hired Sue who performs that role brilliantly and handles so much of the day-to-day running of the business.
Once Sue was in place there was scope to start adding to the team. As Practice Manager, Sue leads the recruitment efforts and also makes sure any new hires are onboarded well.
One of the biggest changes to the People strategy at Expert Wealth was to start looking 6-12 months ahead in terms of staffing needs, rather than reacting when they got overloaded. It’s a big leap of faith to be offering a role before you quite feel you need it. I provided the support and encouragement to help them make those decisions with confidence.
The team headcount is now 8 and at the time of writing this case study, they’re seeking one more admin person to take it to 9.
I encouraged Dom and Jonathan to consider the parts of the advice process that really added value to their clients, rather than producing loads of reporting and bumph to make themselves feel better about compliance.
It’s still a fine balancing act getting those two competing priorities right, but the partners are more focused now on only doing the things they should be doing as a result of their simplification efforts and the extra support they have around them.
We started off the business management improvement work by giving Expert Wealth the confidence to dream a little bit bigger. They created a new short-form business plan that contained a 10-year Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). It scared them and excited them in equal measure.
They adopted the weekly leadership team meeting process that we teach everyone as part of the Uncover Your Business Potential curriculum. The two partners and Sue meet weekly to solve issues so that the business can keep moving forward. Having a third person in the mix, in addition to the two partners, generates better discussion and diversity of thinking, which leads to better decisions and business outcomes.
By the end of our Uncover Your Business Potential journey Expert Wealth was breaking through the £1M of annual revenue barrier with more than £900,000 of recurring revenue.
One of the keys to the increase in ongoing revenue was getting their pricing strategy right. They provide a high-touch and holistic financial planning service and so it’s perfectly appropriate for them to be charging a premium price.
Expert Wealth now has 177 client families with an average client size of £700,000 of investable assets and over £124M of assets under management.
That level of client quality came from getting clear on ‘who they serve’.
Recurring revenue increased by 58% from £585,000 to £925,000.
Assets under management increased from £80M to £124M.
Revenue per planner increased from £364,000 to £519,000.
Net profit margins improved to 28% (after everyone gets paid a fair market rate for their day job).
There’s far more to life than just numbers. Our overarching objective is building the next generation of Expert Wealth. That is tremendously important to both of us.
Expert Wealth is performing like the business it knew it could be. All it took was a sustained focus on the right issues, an accountability partner they could trust and some encouragement.
With some nagging from Phil Bray at The Yardstick Agency (which I know Dom and Jonathan really appreciated) they applied for and won Adviser Firm of the Year in the Professional Adviser Awards.