Following BWD’s BDM Quality Census where we asked a selection of financial advisers about how often they use Broker Consultants and what they use them for, one trend throughout was fairly evident: Telephone Based BDMs are undervalued. I specialise in placing Telephone Based BDMs with product providers so I feel that I have a unique viewpoint on this particular market and I feel that this is a conception that should change.
Of those surveyed, 17% of advisers said that they did not engage with telephone based BDMs at all, with the vast majority of those that do, 87%, using them as a support function on individual cases and not to provide a consultative service or to advise on business development and marketing strategies, in the same way that they may use a field based BDM.
Whilst field based BDMs are generally experienced, qualified and well regarded in their field, the vast majority of telephone BDMs are also trained well to this high standard and have similar levels of experience but are held in less regard than their face to face counterparts but why is this?
One general consensus among advisers seems to be that telephone based BDMs are not as highly trained as field based BDMs, however, as providers look to expand their telephony operations and with RDR ringing in their ears, the majority are seeking highly experienced candidates with at least a couple of the R0 exams under their belt, with a view to completing the Diploma in the shorter term for both telephone and field based BDMs. Most providers provide financial help to complete the Diploma which can be of huge benefit to an aspiring broker consultant. It also means that the gap, qualifications wise, between field based and telephone based broker consultants is getting smaller as regulation becomes more and more deeply rooted in retail financial services.
Another opinion expressed is that Telephone Based BDMs aren’t as experienced as those based in the field, and whilst the progression route through to being a BDM will mean that this may strictly be true, there are a growing number of long serving telephone based BDMs with no intention of going into the field. This can be for a number of reasons including financial incentive and success or that telephone teams are continuing to be seen as the future of broker consultancy.
It seems that advisers may need to start to view contact from telephone based BDMs as being as equally valuable as a visit from their field based counterparts as the service they provide is just as specialist. Providers could do more to market this fact to their clients by perhaps indicating arguably less of a perceived difference in seniority between the two types of BDM so that advisers know that they will be getting the same level of service from each. Of course there will always be differences in the service received from a field based BDM compared to a telephone based BDM but there certainly are similarities and as the gap in training and perception closes between the two, both will be as an effective tool as the other in the intermediary market.