Financial services intermediaries
I provide a range of services under the following broad headings:
Strategy and proposition
Assisting with the development of overall strategy or revising existing plans. This includes the selection and review of management teams, drafting and revising business plans and related documentation, and reviewing a firm’s proposition, including the basis of adviser remuneration.
Example: Sell or succession
An established firm with over 20 years’ trading was debating the relative merits of seeking a sale versus putting into place a process to enable the younger advisers to buy out the directors when they reached retirement age.
I helped review and update the firm’s strategic plan and in the process decide which of the two options to pursue – which was to pass the firm on to the next generation – whilst at the same setting out milestones and contingency plans.
Provider and supplier selection, management and review
Working with intermediaries to help them select and manage the providers of products and services effectively including reviewing suppliers, running “Beauty Parades” and negotiating commercial terms.
Example: Developing a robust DFM panel and referral process
An intermediary client decided as part of its Centralised Investment Proposition (CIP) to provide its advisers with access to discretionary fund managers (DFMs) for clients with assets of a minimum size.
I was retained to advise on the selection process and helped draft the tender document and construct a “long list” of potential DFMs based on agreed criteria. I then organise the detailed assessment interviews and drafted a report to confirm the final panel based on the marks achieved against a set of criteria for each short-listed DFM that had been interviewed. I subsequently helped design the process to refer client cases to the DFM panel as well as the annual review process for the panel.
Corporate governance, risk management and compliance
Helping firms document and manage their governance processes effectively, to use appropriate management information to manage their business, and to review risk and compliance functions where required.
Example: Reviewing compliance and risk resource
When a client’s compliance director decided to leave to move abroad, the client decided it was an appropriate time to review its risk and compliance function. In particular, the firm was keen to explore what external assistance that it might access going forward whilst recognising that in any event, it would remain accountable for its regulated activities.
I assisted the firm in determining its future risk and compliance requirements, and helped in the selection of a new risk and compliance director and also in the tender process to select a firm of external compliance consultants to provide a “third line of defence” to the business.
Acquisitions, sales and integrations
Assisting management teams assess key strategic decisions on whether to acquire or sell including pre-acquisition/sale due diligence, and assistance with the integration process.
Example: Reducing the risk of acquisitions
A client wanted to accelerate growth and wanted to assess its readiness to make acquisitions in addition to organic growth.
I helped the board assess the options in conjunction with the firm’s strategic plan and the goals the board had set themselves. I also challenged the board’s commitment in terms of both time and resources to not only make acquisitions, but also to be able to integrate them effectively. My contribution included updating the firm’s strategic plan, including a gap analysis highlighting the additional resource likely to be required, a matrix to “qualify” potential targets and a structure and set of formulae for acquiring business in relation to initial and deferred consideration.
I have subsequently assisted the company in undertaking commercial due diligence and negotiation of the terms of several specific acquisitions.
Adviser, executive and employee remuneration and contracts
Assistance in design or review of remuneration structures for advisers, whether employed, self-employed or both, and for also executives and employees, including liaison with lawyers regarding employment contracts.
Example: Dealing with contractual issues
A firm had experienced two acrimonious adviser departures within a short space of time which prompted the client to review its adviser contracts and, in particular, the clauses relating to solicitation, on-dealing and exit from the industry.
I helped the firm to obtain the right expert legal advice from an employment lawyer specialising in financial services and provided input in relation to implementing the revised contracts with the remaining advisers.