According to Jake Reus, Partner and Head of Financial Planning at Bob Reus & Co, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to serving clients. His efforts have paid off, with the firm growing its profit by 30% year on year for the last three years. What’s more, Jake has also been named as Count Financial’s Adviser of the Year for 2017 and finalist for Money Management’s 2017 Financial Planner of the Year Award.
Your award recognises the exceptional value you provide to clients – how do you keep your clients so happy?
We take a values-based approach to advice, which is a powerful way to engage clients and deliver deeper, goal-driven outcomes. I also believe that advice should be about strategy – about 80% of the value a client gets is from the strategy, whereas product only accounts for about 20%.
We don't like to take up a client’s time if it's not going to be beneficial to them, so we work out whether a client should see us for ongoing advice, or if they’d be better off simply getting some tips or being referred on to someone else. If they’re working with an adviser on an ongoing basis, there needs to be trust and rapport.
Tell us how you approached the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms.
We saw FOFA as an opportunity to revisit our ongoing service delivery and consider how we could do better, while factoring in the new requirements. The big focus was towards further client engagement.
Everyone lives busy lives these days and it's always a challenge to try and get ongoing clients to commit to regular meetings. But we took it on and revised our whole advice process, which led to a huge increase in levels of engagement among our ongoing clients.
How important is technology in delivering value to business clients?
We're always looking for new tools that provide a simpler understanding of business and help our clients see where their enterprises are going.
We’ve also recently been asked to be involved in a pilot for a new market-leading technology called Ranqx. It automatically links to a client’s cloud-based accounting software so we can benchmark their business against similar businesses with comparable staff and resources. This enables us to play with figures and see what results they could achieve – for example, how they could increase revenue or run their business more tax-effectively.
What extra training have you done to build your business?
In 2015 we took part in a one-week course at Cambridge University Business School, which was all about business management, leadership and change. It was quite a unique experience and very valuable. We also undertook business coaching with Philip Volk a few years ago, as well as many other professional development programs through Count. One of the things I learnt in the early days is that you need to focus on clients before your business can grow. All this training has really helped us to do just that and also measure our progress
What does winning Adviser of the Year mean to you?
I was really chuffed to be a finalist among so many of whom I consider to be very worthy advisers across the whole Count network. I’m still grinning ear to ear when I think about it! What’s more important is the recognition this brings to our team. We have a major focus on a team-based advice approach with our clients, so this award is as much the team’s as it is mine.