To ensure our clients get the best possible financial advice Hive has a new partnership with Continuum. We caught up with Darren Critten, who covers the South West for Continuum, to ask him what makes the company so special.
1. Darren, what services do you offer?
We offer solutions to our clients throughout their financial life. This involves wealth management for individuals, which covers mortgages, protection, savings, investments (including cash management), retirement planning and estate planning.
For companies, we have workplace solutions which include protection for the business, pensions and workplace education and advice. We’ve won three national awards for these services and they are very popular. There’s demand because a typical business owner tends not to consider protecting their business, despite the importance of doing so.
For instance, if a company has two directors and one dies or falls ill, what happens? If you haven’t taken advice and protected the business, you might have one family asking for its share immediately, while the other director might want someone to take the vacant place to keep the business functioning.
The value of your pensions and investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
2. What are the biggest challenges for businesses when it comes to wealth management?
Service is key these days — businesses seem so rushed. So we focus on spending quality time to really listen to our customers’ goals and objectives, plus their concerns, so we can offer solutions that actually meet their needs.
Wealth management involves a long term relationship generally. It is rarely transactional. We focus on building that long term relationship through education of prospective clients so that they then come to us when they are ready to take action. Like most professionals, dentists are busy people.
3. Why are you and Hive such a good fit?
Continuum is all about partnership — we create a three-way partnership between ourselves, the client and Hive. We both focus on education and we have picked up accolades for our client education programme which helps our clients’ develop their financial understanding.
We believe that a well informed client is better positioned for the constant change in the marketplace and can then seek advice from us when they need it. This complements Hive’s focus on educating their clients on business strategy. There’s no point at which either of us stop talking to our clients, we’re both with them before, during and after the big decisions.
4. What makes you different from other wealth management companies?
We believe that Continuum is one of the best offerings available to clients and advisers. What really differentiates us is our culture in delivery, which is highlighted by our Partner Charter, our standard of engagement and delivery. It’s not just what we do but how we do it.
We have a net promoter score of 94%, one of the highest in the UK and way above the average industry score of around 30%. The consistency of our service quality is one of the reasons our clients rate us so highly.
5. Have businesses changed their wealth management needs in the past five years and what are your predictions for the next five?
The wealth management industry had a revolutionary change on 1st January 2013 with the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review. This brought in higher advisory qualification standards and the removal of commissions. Now the client agrees the fees at outset and there is therefore more clarity and transparency.
Added to that are technological enhancements — we can deliver data and education much quicker now. Continuum won the Professional Adviser Award in 2017 for Customer Engagement for our work in this area. We use customer portals and phone applications so that our clients are engaged in their financial journey, and our daily educational blogs help them build their knowledge.
It’s always hard to predict the next five years but we expect more regulation, more technological development, but ultimately an even better client experience, which is what we all want. Financial advisers are going to need to have a deeper understanding of their clients, and therefore a deeper relationship.
To find out more about what Continuum can offer you, please call 01872 300232 or email us at email@example.com.