It’s been three months since Ray Adams and his team launched AdviserBook, challenging the two dominant players in the directory market.
As we head in to February (where on earth did January go?!?), and with a significant change to AdviserBook’s pricing model we thought it was high time we caught up with Ray for an update.
Yardstick: Can you give us an update on the progress AdviserBook has made since we last spoke in back in October 2017?
Ray: “Progress has been overwhelming. In only a few months we’ve welcomed nearly 500 regulated financial advice firms to AdviserBook; that’s nearly five firms every day. But what has been more overwhelming is the fact that nearly everyone has bought into the AdviserBook project. We set out with the ambition to:
- Help stop scams by only listing regulated financial advisers
- Help the public by allowing them to choose the most appropriate financial advice firm for them
- Help financial advice firms gain further exposure
And it appears a large proportion of our industry want to see this come to fruition, so a real community has started to develop. We also created a British Steel Pension Scheme calculator to help members of the British Steel Pension Scheme make a more informed decision regarding the options available to them. And we’ve also made AdviserBook free for everyone in 2018. So needless to say we’ve been pretty busy.”
AdviserBook is now free for all advisers in 2018, could you explain why you’ve made that change?
“Quite simply we have removed all costs involved for the entirety of 2018. Meaning if your firm contains two advisers or 20 advisers, you will be able to use AdviserBook to its full potential completely free of charge. And we have done this because we don’t want any barriers to entry. AdviserBook is about making a positive change within our industry, not about making money.”
Why is it so important that consumers can easily find the right adviser?
“It is so important to both consumer and our industry that we are willing to spend around £20,000 per year on an FCA data feed and over £100,000 per year in development costs to improve its process.
Our industry, in the 21st century, should not have members of the British Steel Pension Scheme describe the FCA register as needing some sort of university degree to operate when searching for a regulated financial adviser. And our industry, in the 21st century, should not allow existing directories to mislead consumers into believing advisers possess qualifications that they ultimately do not possess.
That is why we have created a public friendly directory, which is updated weekly by the FCA, containing all regulated financial advisers who hold the appropriate permissions to provide retail advice. Because if a firm is not regulated by the FCA, and therefore not on AdviserBook, it is probably a scam. This is also the reason why we are seeking an automated API feed with all professional bodies, so we can accurately display adviser qualifications and credentials. Because if an advice firm does not hold the appropriate qualifications, they may not be able to complete certain types of work.”
What do advisers need to do to claim their profile? How long does it take?
“If your advice firm is regulated by the FCA and holds the relevant permissions to provide retail advice, it will be on AdviserBook for you to claim. And the process of claiming your profile is incredibly simple.
All you need to do is visit the Adviser Area of the AdviserBook website and enter the relevant details; it only takes a matter of minutes.”
AdviserBook will live or die on two things; adviser take up and consumers visiting the site. We can see plenty of activity to attract advisers, what is your strategy for pushing consumers to the site?
“We make no secret of the fact that getting consumer engagement will be the real challenge for AdviserBook. But AdviserBook has something others do not possess; it possesses a huge cohort of engaged financial advisers all willing to lend their support and strive towards making a positive change within our industry. AdviserBook is not a project by Ray Adams any more, it is a project by hundreds of financial advisers from all over the country.
So our strategy is a living project. It constantly utilises the knowledge and experience of our users and combines them with the ideas from our talented and expanding tech-team. Over the next few months, you’ll see all of this come together with a significant increase in activity.”
How are lead levels at the moment? Have advisers already received enquiries generated by AdviserBook?
“As we have no grounds for comparison it is slightly difficult to say. But so far in 2018 we’ve recorded 5000 unique searches, 2000 phone number views, 1500 website click throughs and nearly 100 sent messages. Now of course we cannot guarantee that all of these turned into clients, but the statistics are reassuring. What’s most pleasing however is when an adviser informs us, whether on twitter or via email, that they’ve received their first enquiry via AdviserBook.
That’s always a special moment.”
Making AdviserBook free for 2018 is a huge commitment and shows your long-term dedication to the project, what are your plans in 2019 and beyond?
“We’ve always stated that AdviserBook will be a two year project from launch to established directory. So we still have a long way to go. But our plans are simple, we want to create a directory which:
- Helps stop scams by only listing regulated financial advisers
- Helps the public by allowing them to choose the most appropriate financial advice firm for them
- Helps financial advice firms gain further exposure.”
The Yardstick DIY Corner
We’ve been strong advocates of AdviserBook since the start.
The fact it’s now free for 2018 means that signing up and supporting the project is a no-brainer.
Claiming your profile, which you can do by clicking here, is simple. That’s only half the job though. The advisers who get the best results will be those who spend time building their profile, monitoring the results and when necessary, making changes.
If you need help creating your profile please contact us.