The end of another interesting week at engage partnership. Started with our latest Citywire interview on RDR change challenges being broadcast and ended with an interesting exchange with Lord Turner and Hector Sants at yesterday’s FSA annual public general meeting.

http://www.citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/mastering-your-business-moving-from-commission-to-fees/a501902

I am pleased to report that after much hard work and tinkering from our two highly motivated and enthused techy experts, Les and Chris, we now have 2 further analytic tools available for financial service organisations which add extra value for activity based management, in client facing activity and key performance indicators measurement for CEO’s and senior management.

Our Viability tool is designed as the first smartphone app to measure and analyse client focused activity which can be employed by financial advisers, wealth managers and stock brokers to assess time spent with the client and justify adviser fee charging. This pivot technology feeds back to a compliant centralised dashboard which may then produce detailed timesheets  and spreadsheets to give the business and the consultants the information needed to justify their fees and the ensures clients have no point of redress as the information is input whilst they are in their advisor meetings. We already have a client ready to go for a 3 month trial.

SYSC-Board is similar in monitoring and tracking CEO and senior management activity in ensuring they are up to speed with regulatory demands and their KPI’s and sits as a dashboard app on a smartphone or pc/laptop computer. Both analytic tools are easy to use and are built around the business, regulatory and clients needs.

We then move onto Related Vision software which for the first time means intermediaries and financial firms can measure their internal (departments) and external (clients) relationship capital. If you read my last blog on this subject then you can see how important it is to track where our relationships are with our associates and clients and ensure they are a true partnership which creates fair exchange and high trust. Related vision will be available in September this year and sits with our ‘Better Client Relationships’ modules.

We then move to Mr Sants. As some of you know I’ve spent the last 12 months writing my book entitled; “Winning Client Trust; The Retail Distribution Review and the UK financial services battle for their clients hearts and minds”.

Well as I was offered the opportunity to pitch a question to Hector and Lord Turner yesterday at the FSA annual meeting, I off course took the opportunity to pitch my book and low and behold, both the top tier regulatory officials will accept a copy (free off course!), If you don’t ask, you don’t get I guess. My question was tilted at the new ‘twin peak’ regulatory bodies the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulatory Authority and the fact that the risk with such an arrangement is, it’s good for the short term maybe, but what about the long term issues such as financial capability of the general public and education on behavioural economics? Hector Sants seemed to think this is in hand, yet more work needs to be done with help of 3rd party consultants, enter engage…..

We now have an active summer upon us, the books with the publishers and will need a round of formatting and we’ve got the book launch to organise for September. The Analytics tools licensing will be fully available in August and ready for distribution. Finally, but not least, the engage ‘Better Client Relationships’ programme will be launched 3rd quarter 2011 in synergy with our related vision software to assess the quality of organisation’s relations with their clients and give techniques and coaching to stop a ‘silo’ mentality where client acquisition processes can cause battle grounds and be detrimental for the long term benefit of all parties.

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So all in all an interesting week, much to build on and much to do to ensure we facilitate transparency for our partners services and products and engender and maintain their client trust. Enjoy the weekend.

As i’m sure you know, we now live in an ever connected world, yet one which seems to give us little quality time to connect in meaningful and productive ways. How often have you thought, “i haven’t got time too” or “where did today go..” or “how on earth do THEY have the time to…” as we go about our busy lives? As we become more successful and grow older time seems to become a scarce commodity and one which we may not appreciate until its too late. So how can we begin to ‘gain time’, by this I mean manage our time more effectively and efficiently  to ensure we maintain and increase business success and enjoy a healthy work-life balance ?

I have found (through more error than trail) that a key to the seemingly ever demanding world we line in, is to take time and sit back and watch and begin to decipher where you have gained key and successful relations in your personal or business lives that have added value and quality to your business or personal objectives? Through gaining and working with high quality networks and relationships with key people or centers of influence we may begin to spend our time more wisely and gain the results we crave more efficiently and quickly.

The very act of taking some time out of your schedule to plan those meetings with key people, to decide which networking event or a coaching programme to join is crucial to gaining skills and knowledge in what we call relationship capital that measures the value of your relations within the world you live and participate.

No system as yet has actually been devised to truly measure relationship capital, the nearest we have at present is social capital where we can measure our influence and authority through various web based services such as KLOUT which help us see how our ‘social pull’ or standing amongst our peers or within our industry. Social media has a big part to play here and without a clear and coherent social media strategy, we could find ourselves well behind the curve before we know it. Just look at facebook, linked-in, twitter and ecadamy to name a few, their influence is growing strongly day by day.

Relationship capital in business terms maybe looked at as ‘good will’ and certainly solicitors and accountants use this term frequently. On an individual basis, the relationship capital can be with a professional and their client, the value will be higher where other individuals also have strong relations with the professional and the client, or people who influence the buyer. This is shown graphically below;

As David Lambert co-author of ‘Smarter Selling’ writes; “Of course, relationship capital is higher where relationships are with people who have power, influence, or both. Influence is often typically associated with power and we tend to be naturally attracted to power – which often attaches to job titles.  Where sometimes mistakes are made is where the influence of someone with a less impressive title is overlooked.”
So what does this mean, particularly when we are searching for ‘gain time’ strategies ? Well if any one has heard of the power of business joint ventures or partnerships will tell you, high quality relationship capital will leverage your return hugely in efforts placed with the right people with the right relationship capital. This will mean you will seemingly gain time and begin to spend your day in a better space where the right relationships are in place to give you the quality time to do the very things you want to.
In business terms this means seeking out those who can help your cause, relationships that offer a truly reciprocal nature, a win-win for both sides and will leverage yours and their influence in your market space. Where client relationships are concerned, knowing what your clients need, who they know and trust and how they interact within their field adds to the relationship capital. This has a tipping effect into personal lives too and with others providing a helping hand to your business efforts, a more rewarding work-life balanced can be achieved.
Where financial services are concerned a comprehensive understanding of behavioural economics needs to be attained for any firm and their people to gain client trust.
Understanding client relationships with their financial planning and their capabilities to act upon advice and services offered can then generate  high relationship capital. Services maybe tailored to meet clients needs and make them feel appreciated. Without this then a transactional relationship exists, one that falters when it comes to added value and true understanding of the business worth.
So whatever your business is and wherever your interests lie, with the advent of social media and social capital comes the need to focus on,  measure and nurture our relationship capital. Without our high quality relationships we’d be far worse off and just maybe complaining of having too much time on our hands with little or no reward.