The business development manager (BDM) role has evolved as much as the role of an adviser over the last 10 years. For Joe Gennusa the role of the BDM at present is to steer advisers’ mentality of a value proposition based on investment services to one where they position themselves as goals-based advisers.
Rather than aligning adviser value to investment outcomes, Gennusa has been endeavouring to arm advisers with confidence to conduct conversations with clients about client goals, asset allocation, cost control, rebalancing, and becoming a behavioural coach.
“I think there are some advisers that are ready for that conversation, some aren’t. Some are still absolutely focusing on being that specialist investment and that’s fine, Gennusa said.
“But a lot of advisers I’m finding, particularly over the last couple of years, are absolutely receptive to having that conversation and wanting to know how others are doing it in a sustainable way.”
Gennusa was particularly proud of the role he played in helping a large boutique financial planning practice reposition themselves as strategic, goals-based financial advisers from investment advisers.
“We discovered that there was no consistency across the group in the way in which advice was delivered; some advisers were able to generate large revenue whilst others were barley covering costs,” he said.
Gennusa initiated a half day workshop to agree upon an investment philosophy and value narrative to clients.
“While this was a challenging morning with different levels of experience and perspectives among the group, we were able to agree on a number of key points to help the business move forward in creating stronger brand and better outcomes for clients,” he said, adding this improved efficiency, scalability, and sustainability for the business.
This, for him, is at the core of what a BDM can do to help advisers. They must persuade advisers to formulate a clear and concise investment philosophy and define that.
“Do you believe in strategic asset allocation or dynamic, do you believe in currency hedging or being unhedged, do you believe in active or passive? Whatever it is that you believe in, let’s define it on a one-page or four-page document. What that leads to is a consistent narrative across the group,” Gennusa said.