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CHRISISM #58 - FSG - Sales Tool or Compliance Document?

23 January 2018

FSG - Sales Tool or Compliance Document?


Do you regard the Financial Services Guide as a sales tool or a compliance document? If your answer is compliance document, then you may want to change your thinking..


Because the FSG is a document that you are required to give to your client at the earliest opportunity, I find that many advisers view it as a compliance document. However the reality is that, provided you focus on the most important parts of the FSG, it should become a sales tool.   

From a compliance perspective, it is obviously important that you point out all of the sections of the FSG, but it is not necessary to go through it with the client word by word (similar to the SOA). You should definitely tell your client that they should read through the FSG in their own time and come back to you with any questions they may have or to seek clarification of anything they don’t understand.

However, there are a few of the sections in the FSG that I would recommend you do go through with your clients up front. Apart from a brief outline of you and your company, which you may well already have shared with your client by the time you get to the FSG, I believe the two most important aspects of the FSG are, first and foremost, the range of services you can provide to your client and off the back of that how you get paid.

These two topics are crucial to cover off on early in the piece as they both provide springboards for two really important pieces of positioning:-

1) The range of services you can provide should resurface again later in the introduction to the first meeting, and it should be used to preposition and get your client’s agreement on the importance of regularity and continuity of service (see Chrisism#20). “Given the range of services I can offer you over time, would you agree that it all becomes fairly meaningless if we don’t get together and review things on a regular basis?” Getting the client’s commitment to regular reviews (even at this early stage of the process) also opens the door to getting their commitment to the principle of referrals (see Chrisism#36).

2) Focusing on how you get paid at the FSG stage i.e. right up front gives you a great opportunity to get on the front foot with your client in relation to the subject of the fee(s) that will be payable – for those of you who have moved or are in the process of moving to a fee based remuneration model. The pre- positioning of fees could go something like this:- “Hopefully by the end of today’s meeting we will have a better idea of exactly what fee structure will be appropriate for you initially, depending on which services are applicable for you at this stage”.

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