I take a relatively simplistic approach to T&C. Having worked with and managed several T&C schemes over the last few years as a contractor I maintain a firm belief from my days as both a manager and an adviser that not only does our industry has a tendency to over-complicate a lot of the work we undertake, for example the documents we use to present our advice, but also that some firms don’t see the value in T&C for any number of reasons, for example it doesn’t directly earn revenue, it takes up valuable advising time through meetings and training, etc.
The scheme members, for all the best reasons, are probably the most complicated component
Personally I don’t do complicated. If enough thought is applied and testing is carried out most processes and procedures can be simplified. I’ve spent a large proportion of my working life simplifying my work and, in my personal opinion, this should equally apply to running a T&C Scheme.
A T&C scheme should add lots of value. But this all depends on how a firm, and the scheme members, view it and use it. The scheme members, for all the best reasons, are probably the most complicated component. After all, you can’t simplify a human being. But if you understand the individual and their view on the scheme, you can make things simpler for them.
Let’s say you are running a T&C Scheme for a small firm with half a dozen advisers. Even though the scheme contains generally the same criteria for advisers, it is highly likely that each adviser will view the scheme in a different way, ranging from perhaps full embracement where the adviser will see the scheme as a tool to help them to perhaps almost an impression of resentment where the adviser will do as much as possible to avoid any direct involvement. In my experience, most advisers fall somewhere in between. But it’s the two extremes that present the most interesting challenge.
For example, there will always be the adviser who embraces the T&C scheme perhaps sees the value in the feedback and monitoring. Maybe they see a financial incentive in meeting whatever KPI’s they have been set. Whatever the reasons, this adviser will be the one who will be on time for their 121 meetings. They will be the one who will thank you for your time and input. And then there is the adviser at the opposite end of the scale. The adviser that often has an excuse for not being able to make a 121 either on a certain day, or at a certain time or venue. They will likely be the one who you have to push hard to get an accompanied meeting in the diary. They may be the one who you have to use authority to obtain enforcement. The same diversity applies to the individuals who are decision makers in firms, or other non-client facing members. Some will fully embrace the T&C Scheme. Others simply don’t see the value and are likely to adopt a tick box approach.
Put simply, the T&C Scheme provides the firm with a robust process that allows it to fully monitor and document the professional prowess of its advisers. It provides the firm with the ability to document the progress of its advisers. It could allow the firm to reward its advisers based on meeting set criteria in the form of KPI’s, as an alternative or as a support to revenue earned. For the advisers it provides them with a backup that identifies and deals with any training issues. It allows them to focus on what they need to develop rather than just doing CPD for the sake of it. Depending on the firm, it could also allow them to increase their personal wealth as well as that of their clients.
Surely it’s our job as T&C Specialists to understand how individuals view the T&C Scheme? We need to help them realise and embrace the virtues of the T&C Scheme. The T&C Scheme doesn’t need to be complicated. If we make it complicated, we are more likely to see less engagement. Simplify it, and we can create engagement and value.