Ethos Financial Planners Case Study

May 15, 2019

How and why Ethos Financial Planners use now:plan cashflow modelling from Focus Solutions.

Ethos Financial Planners have been offering financial planning services for over 20 years, under the strategic direction of Managing Director, John Morten. Using Focus Solutions’ now:plan cashflow modelling tool, Ethos has seen their business transform and can now offer even more to their clients. We spoke to John to find out how…

Tell us more about the benefits you’ve seen using Focus’ now:plan cashflow?

It’s really been an upgrade on our business and in such a short period of time too. The impact it’s had has been significant, not just for new clients, but very much for existing clients as well. We’re able to offer the client a lot more for their money at a time when the cost of fees is very much in the spotlight — it just demonstrates we’re providing real value.

Can you give a specific example of how now:plan cashflow has offered real value?

One of the most important services we offer is being able to forecast for the client, i.e. “can you afford to retire”. Before now:plan we had to cobble together vast amounts of data and present them to the client on clunky looking spreadsheets. It took at least a whole morning to produce and cost us real money in time and resource. Now the reports take 15 minutes to produce and we can present them to the client in a far more engaging way.

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What kind of impact has this had on Ethos as a business?

It’s made significant improvements to our efficiency which makes a real difference to our bottom line as a business. The software isn’t complicated so we’re able to train a junior member of the team to do the bulk of the fact finding, load it on to the system, set the What Ifs and then an adviser just needs to check it. It’s transformed the way we work for the better.

How has it changed the way your advisers work?

Well now our IFAs can get on with actually meeting clients rather than spending a huge amount of their time doing admin work. We’re now talking about what matters — giving advice — and the clients love the software. Visually it’s so engaging and easy to understand, if we’re honest no one wants to read lengthy reports they just want to see the charts!

So would you say your clients feel the benefits of now:plan too?

Absolutely, most people are visual. Going back before the digital age, my main tool was my notepad and I used to do box diagrams with stick men — even something as basic as that my clients used to say “I must take that with me so I can understand it.”

“So in a way we’ve gone from me with a biro and pad to the quality we have with now:plan cashflow.”

Why use now:plan cashflow over other similar software in the market?

We’ve used quite a well-known cashflow modeller before in the past but it got to the point that we found it unusable — couldn’t load the thing as it demanded so much input. After a while we ditched it as it was far too complicated. That’s what’s great about now:plan, it’s kept as simple as possible but with a complicated option if you need it.

What would you say are the key benefits of the software?

It’s just so easy to use. The fact it’s highly pictorial resonates very well with clients while managing to meet so many of our regulatory requirements such as sustainability of income and assets. We love using it, it has practically every What If scenario that our clients can throw at us so we know we can provide what’s asked of us in such a brilliant way.

How have you found working with Team Focus?

The back up and support from Focus has been absolutely first class. We get responses straight away; there’s no convoluted tech speak and nothing is too much trouble. We have been very delighted with every aspect of the service you have provided to us.

Lastly, can you sum up how now:plan cashflow has helped to transform your business?

It has provided us with real impetus in terms of the pure financial planning aspect of our business and it certainly has reinvigorated us here at Ethos. We feel it’s got us back to what we are here on Earth to do which is to give people top-class, strategic, financial planning advice.