Clearly-defined roles for every member of staff can mean the difference between a successful IFA business and an also-ran, advisers say, following research suggesting firms that place importance on job descriptions are more profitable than those that do not.
A study conducted by transition planning firm FP Advance found firms that had clearly-defined job descriptions for less than half of their staff generated a ‘profit per principal' of almost £79,000 per annum. Those who applied job descriptions to more than 50% of their staff generated almost £115,000.
According to FP Advance, as well as a ‘title' and details of who an individual reports to, job descriptions should include a ‘purpose summary' and key responsibilities and duties. The job descriptions of every member of staff, including paraplanners and administrators, should include the same details, it adds.
Steve Billingham, FP Advance managing director, says: "In our experience, people management often doesn't get the attention it deserves within an advisory practice.
"Having a team of people around you who are motivated, clearly understand both what is expected of them and how what they do contributes to the success of the business is crucial.
"A clear job description is at the core of effective performance management, but it doesn't end there. Your people should be absolutely clear about what excellent performance looks like. The job description should define this."
FP Advance examines the accounts and practices of IFA firms to identify the true drivers behind its performance. It says a number of factors consistently show up as influencing firms' profitability, including staff management.
Paul Willans, chief executive of Mazars Financial Planning, says his firm has introduced a ‘capability matrix', meaning every member of staff has personalised goals and objectives, as well as regular reviews.
"We want it to be possible for someone to join as a personal assistant and, over time, become the CEO," he says.
"You could be forgiven for thinking the most important people in the Air Force are the pilots, but without the chefs in the mess it just wouldn't function properly, and it is exactly the same at IFA firms."
What should be in a job description?
- Job title
- Based at (Business section etc)
- Reporting to (line manager title, location etc)
- Job purpose summary (one sentence)
- Key responsibilities and duties (eight to 15 numbered points)
- Territory/scope indicators (areas to which responsibilities extend)
- Date and other relevant internal references
Source: FP Advance
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