Ask the questions, then question the answers

Yellow and red bouncy balls around a small wooden dice with a question mark printed on it
For financial professionals only

How are the services you use helping you meet your Consumer Duty obligations?

Recently we shared our view on the adviser vs manufacturer debate – but what are the implications of the adviser as manufacturer role when you look at your overall proposition for your clients?

When you’re designing your advice proposition, you need to remember that every decision you make about the service you offer has a corresponding effect on the outcomes you deliver for your client. The communications they receive… how efficient your business is at processing their requests… how much time you have to support each of your clients… these all need very careful consideration.

And it’s important to look at your services in the round. When you’re selecting the various elements of your proposition, from your investment solutions to your technology providers, each should support you in providing better customer outcomes. To quote a supermarket giant, when it comes to providing value, “Every little helps.”

So how can you be sure that every little element really is helping when it comes to answering Consumer Duty?

Here are 3 crucial questions to ask that can put you on the right path:

  1. Can you easily evidence that the service you provide is value for money? 

What’s the impact on your client if you’re sitting on the phone all day, or stuck staring at the revolving wheel of doom while a page is loading? Even if a platform / investment provider is low cost, is the client receiving good value?

Make sure you understand the numbers behind claims for good service – and if you don’t, ask for them. Providers will always choose their most flattering stats. What’s the worst-case scenario for the time it takes for calls to be answered?

We think providers should be open about their service levels and publish ours every year. We’re very proud that so far in 2023, 87% (nearly 9 out of 10) of calls have been answered in 20 seconds or less. In the same period, our longest queue time has been 5 minutes and 21 seconds so there’s always room for improvement.    

  1. Are you making the most of the latest technology to remove your admin burdens? 

 People are becoming more comfortable with how technology can help their everyday lives – a trend that accelerated with Covid. So it’s really worth keeping on top of how tech can support your business processes.  

One of the worst things anyone can say is “we’ve always done it that way.” Ask yourself – what processes take away my focus from helping my clients? What can I do to make that faster or less admin heavy?

The more Parmenion know about these pain points, the more we can help. 

That’s exactly what sparked the development of Advisory Models PRO. Our challenge was “how can tech make it easier to manage clients in advisers’ own models?” and “how can it help deliver a consistent level of service for clients”.  Reactions from the firms we’ve shared our solution with so far have been overwhelmingly positive. Take a look at what we came up with, and get in touch if you’d like your own personal demo.  

  1. Do you have a thorough understanding of your business and your clients? 

This question goes way beyond Consumer Duty. Understanding how your business is doing, whether you’ve got the right mix of clients and whether they fit your target market is essential to running a successful firm.  

But data is everywhere - and very rarely in one useful place. Getting to the answers often means wading through loads of reports and spreadsheets.

If only there was a simple dashboard where you could regularly review what’s going on with your business against your plans and vision.

And now there is. Vantage brings together a whole range of business data and MI, presenting it in one simple dashboard for advisers. There’s a clue in the name – it’s a vantage point from which to make informed business decisions, improve efficiency and identify risks and opportunities for growth.

Andy Dyson, MD at Thomson & Richardson has been using Vantage since launch and says:

“Vantage provides great Management Information on the platform assets we hold with Parmenion but is also a great snapshot of our typical clients. At the touch of a button (or keypad) we can determine average assets, wrapper types, investment solutions and risk profiles across a significant number of our clients. The support for our Investment Committee and PROD analysis is invaluable.”

Speak to your RSM if you’d like to arrange a demo of Advisory Models PRO and Vantage.

We’re here to help

It’s only by asking the right questions that we can all get to the right answers. If you’d like to find out more about how Parmenion can help support you with your Consumer Duty responsibilities, please get in touch.

Mat Grice, Head of Product (Data & Services)

This article is for financial professionals only. Any information contained within is of a general nature and should not be construed as a form of personal recommendation or financial advice. Nor is the information to be considered an offer or solicitation to deal in any financial instrument or to engage in any investment service or activity.

Parmenion accepts no duty of care or liability for loss arising from any person acting, or refraining from acting, as a result of any information contained within this article. All investment carries risk. The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and investors may get back less than they put in. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.  

Speak to us and find out how we can help your business thrive.