Caption: Making a recommendation
Best practice on recommending a financial adviser to your clients.
Obviously we are really pleased to work with local professionals helping mutual clients and thank those of you who have chosen to trust us by recommending your precious clients. It’s not an easy leap to make.
If someone were to ask you why you have chosen to recommend FMB, would you have an answer that stands up to scrutiny?
In all seriousness, we should all be taking a robust approach to the firms we recommend rather than leaving it to chance. It’s no different at FMB, we are also looking to firm up our policy on referrals for legal and accountancy work.
It just so happens the Solicitors Regulatory Authority are paying close attention to this matter and are updating their Code of Conduct which is expected to come into operation early next year. This adopts a more strategic and formalised approach to introductions with the responsibility lying with your firm's Compliance Officer.
The Law Society and the professional bodies of the accountancy profession all have guidelines their members are expected to follow but many firms do not have a centralised approach, leaving it to individuals to develop relationships and generate referrals. You can see the potential risk here.
Some ideas to consider for a centralised approach and philosophy
• Is independence a criteria, or is your firm happy to recommend a restricted or tied offering
• Is the firm FCA regulated? Sounds obvious...
• Would you prefer to refer to a directly authorised firm or a network?
• Check for qualifications and experience within the firm
• Does the number of employees matter to you. What backup is there?
• What is the client process of the firm- how do they help your clients?
• What is the investment philosophy of the firm? Where do they put your client’s money?
• Do they have a policy for dealing with vulnerable clients?
• Will we choose one firm, a panel of firms or none at all?
• How important is a local philosophy?
• How will we monitor the referrals we give?
Inevitably, people make relationships and we have found it best to take a balanced approach rather than a prescriptive one, but we do monitor centrally all of the recommendations we make to other professionals from Solicitors to Surveyors, from Mortgage Brokers to Accountants. FMB is responsible for the recommendation at the end of the day and it's important our clients get the service they expect. What is without question though, is that our local network and knowledge of other professional firms means we can help our clients access the help they need and work together to get the best outcome.