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RECENT PROJECTS

Training Courses:

We deliver specialist courses in financial planning and financial strategies throughout the Asia region.
We designed and delivered training courses on financial planning for private bankers in the Asia region. The course covered issues such as cross jurisdictional financial planning and estate planning for high net worth people. It was designed to equip relationship managers with the background knowledge to discuss financial planning issues with customers.

Apart from our specialist financial planning and financial strategy courses, we train financial advisers to change their relationship with clients from a product sales based (transactional) relationship to a financial strategy, advice based relationship. This shift from a sales relationship to an advice relationship places the financial adviser in a position where they can influence the distribution of a client"s financial resources. This is a valuable and sustainable relationship that leads to an increase in business written per client.

We also train financial advisers to be a Financial Coach to their clients and run a course in association with the Institute of Business Coaches leading to the professional designation of Certified Financial Coach (CFC).

Facilitation of Strategic Planning Days for Corporations:

Adj. Prof. McMaster has facilitated strategic planning days for various companies including companies outside the financial services industry. Prior to these days, we research the companies so that we know the culture, issues and dynamics of the business. Wes is then able to lead the senior executives through a process that has the effect of bringing them to a perspective of the business that you would expect of an external observer. This leads to an honest appraisal of business issues and innovative thinking of strategies and solutions. At the end of the day a document is produced that becomes a blueprint for the business going forward. There will be action to be taken and people will be accountable for implementation.

Expert Witness Opinions:

Adj. Prof. Wes McMaster has been instructed by a number of leading law firms to provide an opinion on financial planning matters to be heard in the courts. He has appeared as an expert witness in court proceedings. (Newman & Ors v Financial Wisdom Limited & Anor; Newman & Ors v Hold Pty Ltd & Anor [2004] VSC 216 (29 June 2004)). (Benjamin Corporation Pty Ltd v Smith Martis Cork & Rajan Pty Ltd [2003] FCA 1471 (11 December 2003)).

Integration of Financial Planning Services within an Accounting Business:

There is growing demand by accounting businesses to establish their own financial planning service within their business. This is driven by three factors. One is the recognition that compliance services are process driven and do not add value and the second is the increasing demand from clients for financial planning advice. The third is to create capital value. Think of this. Accounting businesses sell for maybe 1x annual billings. Financial planning businesses sell for up to 3x recurring income. Funds management businesses sell for up to 10x recurring income.

One of the barriers to establishing a successful financial planning service in an accounting practice is that it is common for these businesses to exhibit an "old world"culture. This is where partners are territorial about their clients and are reluctant to refer them to financial planners.

Where we are engaged to prepare a strategic plan to establish a financial planning service within an accounting business, our first focus is to determine whether the accounting business is positioned to support the successful growth of the financial planning service. We talk to the accountants about three main areas of their business.

Re-Positioning Businesses for Profitability:

We have undertaken reviews of a number of businesses that were making losses or under-performing and have advised the owners on strategies to re-position the business to produce profits and a return on investment. These businesses have generally been Licensees with a number of financial planning businesses attached.

Integration of Financial Planning Services within an Accounting Business:

There is growing demand by accounting businesses to establish their own financial planning service within their business. This is driven by three factors. One is the recognition that compliance services are process driven and do not add value and the second is the increasing demand from clients for financial planning advice. The third is to create capital value. Think of this. Accounting businesses sell for maybe 1x annual billings. Financial planning businesses sell for up to 3x recurring income. Funds management businesses sell for up to 10x recurring income.

One of the barriers to establishing a successful financial planning service in an accounting practice is that it is common for these businesses to exhibit an "old world" culture. This is where partners are territorial about their clients and are reluctant to refer them to financial planners.

Where we are engaged to prepare a strategic plan to establish a financial planning service within an accounting business, our first focus is to determine whether the accounting business is positioned to support the successful growth of the financial planning service. We talk to the accountants about three main areas of their business.

  • A common flaw in professional services businesses is that the adviser is territorial about the client base (these are my clients and those are your clients). The problem with this is that it limits the growth of the business because there is a limit to how many clients an adviser can see. It also means that the business cannot generate revenue from clients when the adviser is absent. We see these structures in medical, legal and particularly in accounting and financial planning businesses. This structure also creates a risk to the business if the adviser leaves. Since the adviser has the relationship with the client, the client will generally follow the adviser.

    To overcome this problem the client should deal with the firm, not an individual. Under this system the clients will deal with a team of people. At the initial interview, the client will meet the Partner and the support accountant. At subsequent meetings the client will also be introduced to other support staff. Consequently the client will understand that when the Partner is not available, the support staff are capable of dealing with their issue. The relationship with the client is developed by several people and if one of them leaves the firm, the client relationship stays with the firm.

    This also has the benefit that since the support staff are able to service the client, it leverages the Partner"s time to see more clients and introduce more new business.

  • This leads to the next issue and that is we need to be satisfied that the partners will be willing to refer their clients to the financial planners. This commitment is essential to the success of the financial planning service.
  • The third interest we have is to look at the accounting business to see where we can add value. Most accounting businesses grew from a core base of compliance services. We encourage accountants to focus on other services such as management accounting where they add value to their client through advice that will improve the efficiency, profitability and capitalisation of their clients" businesses and create wealth for the client. This focus neatly extends to the financial planning service where wealth creation and preservation are the core.

    After we have established that the accounting business will support the financial planning service, (in the process we have often taken them through a shift in their thinking and positioning) we are ready to develop the strategic plan for the financial planning service.

    The strategic plan will vary from business to business but will include every element of developing the financial planning service from job descriptions to detailed work flow processes, to compliance, professional standards, software and marketing.