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Adviser Workshop: What’s the magic number of staff for your firm?

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Adviser Workshop: What’s the magic number of staff for your firm?

Peter Chadborn

Director, Plan Money

We have seven members of staff, four advisers and three administration support staff, but we run quite efficiently on that.

Eventually I will increase the number of administrators. Right now we have a two-to-one ratio.

Roles depend on experience

The advisers do the paraplanning. It’s evolving: the more experienced the administrators become, the more they can get involved in paraplanner duties.

However, at the moment we like the structure where the adviser is doing the research. It’s a structure that has evolved; it was just me to start with.

If I was to hire another administrator to help me, we would have to see what work would be taken away from me and then what extra revenue I can produce in the time I would be saving. If that extra revenue was being produced, it would pay the cost for that administrator.

Lee Robertson

Chief executive, Investment Quorum

We have two non-executive directors, four advisers, four administrators plus one investment officer.

In terms of administrators, I think one per adviser is about right because of how often we keep in touch with clients.

Strong on investment

We have discretionary permissions so we always thought we would need a strong non-executive board presence, which allows us to have a lot of depth on our investment committee.

We outsource our paraplanning. It’s not added as a fixed cost to the business, which helps with our capital adequacy requirement. We outsource IT and we occasionally use outsourced marketing support.

In my opinion, we’re beautifully formed. We receive good feedback from our clients that the numbers are about right.

I could do with taking on a few new advisers but we’re struggling to find the adviser we’re looking for.

Robert Forbes

Partner, Plutus Wealth Management

We have seven advisers and one administrator, although the latter is about to be increased to two. We outsource marketing and some administration.

If there’s a chance service standards may be compromised, you have to reduce your profitability by increasing your headcount. If there no chance of that, you can take the profit. It depends purely on the service to clients and that will dictate everything.

Co-operative set-up

Our structure is a co-operative. In a profession where the barrier to entry is relatively low, you have to think about sharing the tasks, the work and the benefit.

Plutus is more of a co-operative than a traditional business with a chief executive and a chief financial officer and all those people in a top-down hierarchy. It’s a lot flatter than you would normally see.

It starts with the culture and what you want the service standard to be like. Then it’s about implementing the strategy, therefore seeing how much IT is needed.

The amount of IT you have dictates how many administrators you need compared with advisers.

If you have rubbish IT, you need a higher administrator-to-adviser ratio. If you have great IT, some of those roles are redundant.

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