Mulling over the pros and cons of joining an IFA network as an appointed representative?
It’s a conundrum faced by international IFA businesses of every size – with a multitude of factors ranging from ever-evolving regulatory requirements to rising back-office costs and exit strategy policies that might impact your decision.
Many international advice firms are drawn to networks that offer an appointed representative route, enabling them to launch or grow their own brand within the support framework of a network. Bear in mind though that networks operate under a variety of business models – including more traditional structures where you don’t retain control of client relationships – so before joining it’s crucial to read the fine print thoroughly.
However, with the right network, you’ll unlock a wealth of benefits – from compliance peace of mind and tech support to reduced admin – for the short, medium and long term. In this post, we explore those benefits (and tell you a little bit more about why Lawsons Network’s unique model is making waves in the international financial advice space).
1 – Grow your IFA business in the direction of your choice
With the right IFA network, you’ll discover comprehensive support that enables you to build your business, growing your firm successfully in the direction of your choice. To do this though, you need to ensure that you retain control over your clients and the direction of your business.
Beware of the more traditional or retail network model, under which you essentially relinquish control of your business; in this scenario, you could nurture client relationships for years but have nothing to show for it if you decide to move on from the network. Equally, look out for business structures which make you liable for compensation costs if you leave but your clients remain at the network.
Instead, search for networks where you’re in control and valued for the individual that you are – rather than by the AUM of your network’s retail arm. As an AR of a network like Lawsons, you retain complete client control yet benefit from the targeted support of the team as well as the ability to connect with a hub of like-minded individuals. We also offer an exit strategy service to support your step back from your business when the time is right.
2 – Discover security in a constantly-evolving regulatory environment
As an international independent advice firm, compliance is a key consideration – especially if your clients are based in multiple locations around the globe. And in today’s ever-shifting regulatory environment, keeping on top of requirements for every jurisdiction in which you offer advice is both time consuming and stressful.
By joining a network as an AR, you’ll remove this burden and enjoy the security that comes from knowing you’re writing business in line with the latest regulations and standards of best practice, wherever your clients are based.
At Lawsons Network, for example, we’re affiliated to SO-FIT in Switzerland and licensed and regulated by SCA, DIFC, IA and SEC through partnership.
3 – Tap into economies of scale (and save time, too)
Even without the cost-of-living crisis sweeping the world, you’ll encounter a multitude of costs as an IFA – from regulatory fees to insurance, technology, training and business development costs. And if you opt to go it alone, you’re likely to find yourself forced to make compromises and difficult decisions on where to invest.
However, advice firms that take the AR route benefit from their network’s ability to make cost savings by buying in bulk. This doesn’t just save you money; by removing the hassle of arranging these elements, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend on administration, giving you the power to focus on growing your business rather than drowning in paperwork.
As a Lawsons Network AR, we give you game-changing technology (more on that below), and competitive rates on everything from compliance to training and recruitment support. In fact, every member of the team is committed to helping you grow your business in any way you choose – whether that’s finding the best support staff or expanding into new geographical areas.
4 – Streamline processes with game-changing technology
In the post-pandemic world, cloud-based technology is no longer a nice to have – consumer expectations have shifted permanently, and independent advice firms still attached to paper-based processes are quickly finding that they’re no longer able to meet client demands.
However, industry-leading technology doesn’t come cheap – which means that many IFAs are drawn to networks to gain cost-effective access to industry-leading systems that streamline every element of the business-writing process.
Take Lawsons Network. We’re on a mission to become the world’s leading SaaS network and technology is at the heart of our service. Consequently, our unique business model gives AR members access to bespoke technology including cash flow modelling, digital signatures and biometric AML checks – as well as CRM systems that help advisers forge long-term connections with clients, wherever they’re based in the world.
5 – Unlock investment support and access a broad range of products
Constructing bespoke portfolio solutions and monitoring individual securities is resource draining – as is researching the latest products on the market and assessing their suitability for your clients.
With the right IFA network, you can relax in the knowledge that a team of experts is working behind the scenes – securing terms of business with product providers, taking care of due diligence and providing cost-effective investment strategies for your clients.
The Lawsons Investment Committee, our dedicated investment team, delivers exceptional support to our members – giving them access to a broad, sophisticated and constantly evolving range of investments that helps differentiate their offering. Our members also enjoy access to an exciting, diverse and fast-expanding multitude of product providers.
Find out more about becoming a Lawsons Network Appointed Representative
Our plug-in-and-go network service gives IFAs from smaller consultancies to large internationals the freedom and flexibility to grow their business in any direction they choose. We’re driving change across the industry and our Membership Acquisition Director Jennifer Toon Davenport would love to tell you more.
With a business model that’s unique in the industry, we give you access to:
- Game-changing technology
- Regulatory infrastructure
- Comprehensive investment support
- Industry-leading commission rates
- Exciting and diverse global product providers
Simply let us have a few details by filling in the form on this page and Jennifer will be in touch for a confidential chat to tell you more and answer your questions.