In this episode, I talk to Andre Costa of Advicefront.
It’s all about helping advisers get started with new clients in an engaging way that let’s them focus on building long term relationships. We chat about where the idea came from and how Andre and the team developed and launched the service.
Welcome to episode 202 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.
What you’ll hear about in this episode
What Advicefront is
How Advicefront helps advisers connect with their clients
Where the idea for the tool came from
Company marketing tactics
The biggest challenge Advicefront has faced
Their business successes to date
Who is Andre Costa?
Andre studied architecture before changing to software development, applying what he’d learned about design.
He is the CTO of Advicefront, a front-end tool for financial advisers to onboard their clients and learn more about them. It links into other apps and tools, like Voyant, to create financial planning solutions for customers.
Andre says it combines everything he loves – design, technology and finance – in one.
Summary of our chat
Advicefront allows financial advisers to collect information from clients digitally, eliminating the need for face to face meetings during the fact find process. It saves the client time, as they just log in, complete the risk questionnaire and sign. It also enables advisers to instantly collect their set-up fees.
They believe that meetings during fact-finding aren’t needed. Clients appreciate being able to complete the process in their own time. The adviser then quickly gets to the stage of addressing the client’s needs. However, they encourage face to face meetings after that when possible to help build long term relationships.
CEO Jose Supico came up with the idea of Advicefront while working as a financial adviser in Portugal. He wanted to build a tool to help advisers, and toyed with creating robo-advice. Instead, he created something to make them more efficient and productive, and to win more clients.
Advicefront recently received investing which enabled them to build a team of developers, designers and marketing. They researched the market and began building social awareness. Now, they’re heavily active on Twitter and LinkedIn, and share videos to explain latest updates. Adviser beta testers also spread the word and give recommendations.
Andre says their biggest challenge has been breaking into the UK market, because the team is based in Portugal but the company is British – there was some prejudice. It was also difficult for them to have a presence on social media and at industry events, so it took time to generate awareness.
Advicefront have created a positive community, where advisers can give feedback on the tool as they test and use it with clients. Setting this up while growing was very useful. They have a core group of loyal advisers using the tool every day and an international bank as a client.
What’s Next for Advicefront?
The next step for Advicefront is to develop further modules for the platform. These are for report planning and building, and will integrate with other tools to do so. They are also working on supporting advisers to execute financial plans. Then, they’re looking to expand outside of the UK.
An Example of Simple Marketing
Andre says that Uber keep everything straightforward. Their communication is clear, the app is simple to use, and it allows him to get where he needs to be quickly and easily.
An Example of Marketing Muppetry
Andre says that some airlines make things complicated. TAP (Air Portugal) has a system which is a mess. It’s difficult to check in and communication is poor.
On the show this week, I talk to Andy Couchman, co-founder of Protection Review.
We chat about how the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards has grown to become one of the premiere financial services events of the year and the new “I Mark” which seeks to recognise true innovation.
Welcome to episode 197 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.
What you’ll hear about in this episode
How Andy started Protection Review with another financial services luminary, Peter Le Beau
The process Andy goes through to write product reviews and how he scores them
What innovation really means in financial services
The reasoning behind the launch of the I Mark
What companies will have to do to receive the I Mark.
Who is Andy Couchman?
Andy started his career in product marketing roles in various large UK financial services companies.
After leaving corporate life he made a success writing about financial services topics. Together with Peter Le Beau he started Protection Review back in 2003. What started as a paper publication and an annual dinner has turned into a prestigious annual Conference, Dinner and Awards event and a popular website.
Although he has retired from the day to day running of Protection Review, Andy still writes the reviews published each month.
Summary of our chat
In his reviews Andy always remembers that teams of people will have worked hard on launching the product or service he is reviewing. They’ll be looking for the highest score possible. But over the years he’s developed a method of setting a benchmark for the products and services he’s reviewing.
He rarely gives a 10 out of 10. In fact this may only have happened a couple of times.
Until now, Andy has always acknowledged innovation in his reviews. Thinking back to the launch of Critical Illness Cover in 1986 he acknowledges that it was real innovation back then. However the current practice of adding new illnesses and conditions, whilst a good thing because it improves the product, is more evolution than innovation.
That’s why he’s please Protection Review is launching the “I Mark”. It will recognise and promote true innovation in the protection segment of UK financial services.
He’ll still mark his reviews on a scale of 1 to 10, but from now on he’ll also award the I Mark to products and services that offer something different.
Recommended business book
Andy likes Damon Hill’s Autobiography. The racing driver faced many mental health challenges over the years and Andy thinks this is sobering reading and reiterates how important it is for insurance companies to take care of people with similar issues rather than simply rejecting them for cover.
He also recommends Lucian Camp’s book about financial services marketing. Lucian was my first ever guest on the Marketing and Finance Podcast.