This week we meet Tom Momsen, owner of Armcrest, a financial advice business in Charlestown, New South Wales. A family owned business, originally started by Tom’s father Chris, Armcrest provides holistic advice services to a diverse range of clients, including both wealth and risk management.
Tom shares with us his views on what we need to do to future proof a financial advice business as well as sharing some tips on finding efficiencies in increasingly complex processes.
What would you say is the best part about being a financial adviser?
Seeing clients kick their goals! Being a financial adviser is such a privileged position. You end up knowing a lot about the people who are your clients. Their doctor knows their health and their accountant knows their wealth, but a financial adviser knows both. As financial advisers, we are trusted with knowing details of the two least talked about subjects.
How do you go about getting new clients?
Most new clients come from referrals. I like to do a lot of catchups with clients in very non-business settings and same with the referral partners. It’s always good to be ‘Johnny on the spot’.
What are some of the things you do that give you stress? How do you manage that stress?
Currently is keeping up with compliance and the volume of changes. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the processes and find efficiencies. As the processes are always changing, and it’s getting harder and more complex, we’re looking for ways to speed up the process without impacting the client experience. That means looking at new technologies.
What are some of the technology options you’ve been looking at?
We’re really interested in looking at any pieces of software to make it more engaging for the client, as well as being effective and efficient.
For example, we’ve just started using Loom. It’s a great little screen recording tool. If I’m going through a ROA, it records me and the ROA on the screen. I can talk the client through the ROA, use my mouse to point out relevant things and then after the call, send them the link with the ROA so they can review the document with the video. So, the client gets a short video of what I’ve spoken to them about rather than clicking a blank document or getting a 10-paragraph email.
Have you looked at other opportunities like outsourcing?
We’re not looking at outsourcing, but we have started adopting managed accounts. This means we are essentially outsourcing a lot more of the investment work, greatly reducing the back-office time required.
What are other ways you are looking to future proof the business?
As an industry, we’ve got to start working a lot smarter. We can no longer hang our hat on being investment managers – we need to grow and re position ourselves as strategic professionals.
The problem is that over the years, many financial advisers have positioned their value and services around investment management. By using managed accounts, you stop doing that, so from a client perspective, you need to show what value you can bring to move up the chain to strategic planning. It’s one of the biggest challenges but also one that will open up more opportunities.
To do this, you need to move clients to a more holistic life view. Get back to the origin of the word ‘wealth’ – it means ‘well in health’. So, we need to not just focus on money but expand it to ensuring clients have good health and good relationships as well.
What’s important for running a good business?
Good people and good staff. A key element is having people who are on board with your vision. And people who come to me with solutions to their problems is a massive thing for me. It’s no use coming with a problem that they haven’t really thought about. It shows initiative if they come with a problem and some ideas for a solution that we can talk through. I love that.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Learning and growing. You will learn or grow from every scenario. If it’s a good outcome you’ll grow, if it’s bad, you’ll learn!