This week I caught up with Louise Oliver, partner at Taylor Oliver in Chesterfield, who has been taking some tough decisions about how to commercialise the business.
Taylor Oliver has doubled its charges to clients over the past two years. It now operates a tiered charging structure, running from 0.5% to 1%, and offers bespoke charges for clients with more than £1 million to invest. The firm continues to work with project fees and charges £2,000 for its full financial planning services.
Model review ousts cake
Oliver said the changes were the result of a review of the firm’s business model. ‘We have to be profitable and sustainable, and we had to move away from the lifestyle model where we looked after Mrs Miggins for a chat and a piece of cake,’ she said.
It was surprising to hear Oliver speak so frankly about the need to commercialise the business, given the success the firm has already enjoyed. She said the spur for making the changes had come from listening to the firm’s peers.
‘We’ve had to have really serious conversations with our clients, and it was hard,’ said Oliver, who admitted to putting fees last on the agenda in client meetings.
Taylor Oliver is expanding and taking on a new analyst to help Oliver and partner Steve Taylor. They also need to free up time for their paraplanner, Claire Goodwin.
‘The only way we can grow,’ said Oliver, ‘is to invest in our team, which will free the planners up to bring in more of the right type of new clients.’
Goodwin recently spoke at the Personal Finance Society conference about how paraplanners can be a ‘critical friend’ for advisers and stressed the need for strong relationships between the two parties.
Oliver had a good turn of phrase for how she envisaged the future of Taylor Oliver. ‘We must continue to delight our clients,’ she said. It seems service for Taylor Oliver has gone beyond good relationships alone and is rooted in enthusiasm.
I certainly received excellent service when I was driven back to the railway station via the best butty shop I have ever been to. This prompted a Twitter debate between Citywire director Richard Lander, Oliver and Goodwin about the correct terminology for a sandwich. Barm, breadcake or bap, anyone?