With around 600 clients, Stephens Plattfuss & Co have built a business based on a culture of service and respect.
Central to their success is having a clear vision on why the business exists. Claudio provides his insights into how he keeps his team motivated, and what he is doing to develop further efficiencies to support the business goals, while maintaining a reputation for delivering exceptional service to clients.
Tell us a little bit about the business
I think a good place to start is with our ‘why’. Our why is to enrich, educate and coach our clients so they exceed their financial aspirations. This is why we are here and what we do – providing sound financial advice by building authentic relationships with our clients and providing a service that exceeds their expectations.
How did you get started in financial advice?
I started off in the early 90s. I started studying accounting but wasn’t really for me and I came across a job selling life insurance. Back then the industry was totally different – it was all about selling. Had a break after a few years and got back into the industry in the early 2000s. When I re-joined the industry, I worked in an accounting firm as a financial adviser. I then went out on my own with partners in a financial service business, before long I bought out my partners and merged with Stephens Plattfuss & Co. I’ve now been a part of Stephens Plattfuss & Co Financial Services for over ten years.
What’s the best part about running a financial advice business?
It’s definitely a rewarding job. The rewarding part is when you work with a client through their ups and downs and then you finally get them to that ‘a ha’ moment where they’ve reached their financial goals and aspirations that’s the best part. These clients tend to become lifelong clients.
What are some of the things that give you stress and how do you manage that stress?
I think for me it’s having to wear so many hats. You are advising, managing, coaching and running a business. If I’m trying to do everything at once, things can spike. But I’m lucky because I am usually very relaxed. There’s not a lot that gets me going and that’s because I’ve always tried to balance my life. I meditate, I go to the gym and I eat healthy. So, when things do get tense, it’s like water off a ducks back.
What are some of the things you are doing to improve efficiency in your practice?
At the moment we’re in the midst of automating a lot of tasks and threads through Compass, especially with the new review process. Once we’ve completed the automation of threads, we’ll look at offshoring, especially our overflow, to help us create a more efficiency in our business.
We should probably have done this earlier but it’s one of those things that you need the time to focus on to ensure you can make it happen.
We also have our Monday morning meetings It’s a good time to get the team together and get set up for the week. It’s a pretty tight agenda but at the end of it we know who’s doing what and what’s expected.
We also do try to have fun and learn from each other. We bought a book for all the staff and on a weekly basis we read a chapter and then come together to discuss what we learnt. And as part of our Monday team meetings, we usually play a Ted Talk.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
There are a few that ring true to me – Firstly everything is possible and there is generally a solution for everything. Also, I would say you should always give something a go. And try to improve at what you do every day and be open to continue to learn.