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Employed Vs Self-Employed – What’s Your Worth?

Sam Oakes from Recruit UK says you can improve your chances of the right job with a proper self-assessment

Why would I want to go self-employed? I’m on a high basic and a good pension scheme. I have career progression, strong bonus potential, and a job for life!

Oh those were the days hey?  Before RDR, the collapse of bancassurance, and the swift decline of those IFAs who didn’t act swiftly enough to put a fee-based model into place. Yes, basics were great and the bonus on top was even better – but sadly, it didn’t last.

One of my candidates, a 27 year old adviser, was earning near 100k a year, and the next month he was out of a job and being hounded by every self-employed network out there – plus a small number of employed options. He was confused to say the least.

I had to re-educate him about the job market, and help him understand that, if he wanted to earn the 100k per year he was used to, he’d need to start looking at his personal contacts and clients. And he needed to understand what his worth was in today’s marketplace.

What do I mean by worth? Some Advisers didn’t understand that their worth came from their advocate client relationships, their introducer relationships, their personal and business networks, and their ability to self-generate and to hunt for client and business opportunities.

Once I started digging with this individual, I was able to quickly establish his worth. He had a solid advocate client base of forty £150k-plus investable asset clients; and these clients also had high levels of cash in reserve.

We spoke about their protection needs, which then generated a separate client list of potential business. And as we dug deeper, I said I could clearly help him with a business plan that showed his potential to generate around £50k in recurring income within the first year, as well as high levels of initial fees.

Going It Alone

A conversation followed about the self-employed markets. and about what support he would need to write those levels of business, and the split required to make it worthwhile. This, of course, on top of a projection of how long it would take him to increase AUM and new clients through referrals and leads, and eventually a market-leading exit strategy

All of a sudden, he knew his worth! And not only that, he could also see a long term strategy to achieve his goal of being a self-sufficient business owner, with a work life balance to match.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. He didn’t jump ship then and there. He still had massive reservations, but at least he understood his worth – and I, as professional recruiter, was confident that I had done my due diligence.

The Advantage of Having a Plan

I set up three interviews with my clients – all up-and-coming directly authorised IFAs who had a solid business model and a national presence, full back office and paraplanning support, offices and leading splits of 70/80% in favour of the Adviser. And, due to the fact find, he had a business plan to take with him.

This pleased my clients, because their time wasn’t being wasted. And my candidate went into that meeting knowing his worth, and in a position to discuss the opportunity in more detail. Both sides were interested.

At the same time, I wanted to provide my candidate with a fair comparison, so I lined up some employed opportunities. Now, due to my thorough analysis of the candidate’s advocate client base, I was able to sell him into two leading chartered wealth management firms who have adopted the FCA’s principles around remuneration and incentives. This ensured that I could secure my candidate a higher basic salary, as opposed to being bonus orientated. The firms could provide an overall package that included discretionary bonus and award winning benefits and Chartered qualification training.

Decisions, Decisions

Each of the two options were of major interest to my candidate. And in fact, with an employed and a self-employed offer both on the table, the difficulty was now selecting the best option for himself going forward.

I sat the candidate down and explained the benefits of each side of the fence, and the potential negatives too. He was young in comparison to the average adviser, and already successful. He had entrepreneurial characteristics and high ambition. And he would be fit perfectly into a firm that already had the in-house structure to help develop him, both professionally and financially. 

His concern, like a lot of individuals who come from a corporate employed background, was about the transitional period that would come between receiving a salary and all of a sudden being responsible for self-generating income.

With this is mind, I negotiated a drawdown from the National IFA firm off the back of his confident business plan. And this was enough for my candidate to make his choice! He chose self-employed, and I’m pleased to say he made the right decision.

He has flourished in the role and is already exceeding his and the firm’s expectations. Luckily, we had another candidate in a similar situation but with a different view on earnings – he simply wanted the basic from a security perspective, so we managed to fill both roles and each of our two candidates were confident that, due to our in-depth analysis of their worth, they made the right decision. Moreover, just as important, my clients got the best candidates for the job.

There are tough decisions to be made. But the point I’m trying to make is that you need to do your due diligence, as an adviser looking for your next opportunity. Working with a recruiter who understands both sides of the fence will help you to make the right decision. The recruitment consultant will want to place you in a new role, obviously – but a really good recruiter will help you to make the choice based on your worth, professional and personal circumstances. 

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