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Picking the right team

Have you ever watched Formula1? It’s an incredible sport in its own right. What fascinates me is the amount of teamwork needed to win. Take for example the pit stops. If you’re unfamiliar with F1 then a pit stop is used for refuelling, switching tyres and adjusting any mechanical issues. To win a race, the team needs to make all the necessary adjustments as fast as possible.

What’s absolutely incredible is the average pit stop time is 2.4 seconds. Yes, that figure is not a mistake… 2.4 seconds. That’s a team of 20 people, each with a designated role to get their job done at breath-taking speed, with no slip ups, no distractions and no accidents. That to me is ‘world class’. To get to this level requires a mentality that strives for perfection day in and day out.

This is how I view financial planning

Every day I question how I can perfect my service to provide the most value. People ask me how I manage such a heavy workload for my clients, fit in face-to-face meetings and combine that with family life.

Well to be frank, I can’t do everything. Not if I want to provide a truly bespoke service. So I make sure I work on the aspects that offer the most value to clients, and delegate the rest to others.

Like in F1, I have a small team around me where each member has their own set of responsibilities to carry out. It’s much better like this because I’m entrusting a specialist to carry out each role. That way, I know that each brick that makes up the Barnaby Cecil house is laid by an expert.

That’s what it takes to create a world-class service

Precision, teamwork and trust. This strategy has allowed me to focus on what I’m best at, creating tailored financial strategies for my clients. It made my service dynamic, more efficient and most importantly, personal.

From start to finish, everything about financial planning must be personalised for it to be effective. That’s why I ensure that I’m the person that collaborates closely with my clients. Face-to-face meetings, emails, Zoom calls, phone calls - I am the front line of communication and their first port of call.

I look at other professionals in my industry who do the opposite

They’ll market themselves as bespoke financial planners, but then assign a less experienced planner to work with their clients.

This is a real shame because they’ll use their credentials as a selling point to pull prospects closer to their brand. I can only scratch my head when I see this happen. It’s like a football manager who avoids the management part of the job.

Working with clients and understanding their likes, dislikes, challenges, finances, aspirations and apprehensions is the heart of what I do. And because of that, I will always remain the front line of communication with them.

Maximising potential through technology

The other important aspect of Barnaby Cecil is our use of technology, which is an interesting topic to explore in financial planning. Almost every single industry has utilised digital technology to streamline processes, improve efficiency, extract key insights and in general just make life an awful lot easier.

Notice how I said ‘almost.’ Coming in at last place is financial planning. Yes, my industry has been typically slow to respond to the digital age. I’ve been aware of this for a while, which is why we’ve been looking at ways of how to integrate tech appropriately into our services.

This is something I’ve been cautious about. I know plenty of businesses using technology just for the sake of it, which only makes everything more cumbersome. I can’t think of anything more awkward than using an AI robot to answer online queries. It would completely strip my business of its human elements, creating a faceless and cold brand.

Instead, I’ve looked at what areas need tightening up. Allowing clients to have instant access to their financial accounts was the first problem we needed to solve. And so we created the Barnaby Cecil: The App.

Clients can now track their expenditure, monitor their income and check their investments from anywhere in the world 24/7. Everything they need to know is at the press of a button. You can find what you need in under 2.4 seconds, without even a pit stop.

Now that’s world class.

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