Ryan Edwards (pictured) has been in the financial services industry for more than 12 years, having worked with some major insurance firms across both Australia and New Zealand.
Now, Edwards is the managing director and co-owner of The Adviser Platform, a leading full-service platform helping New Zealand advisers reach their full potential.
Insurance Business caught up with Edwards to learn more about the business. In this Q&A, he also talks about the “exciting” upcoming regulatory changes and the secrets of delivering fantastic customer outcomes.
Insurance Business: Who or what has inspired you to be involved in the financial advisory industry?
Ryan Edwards: My father runs a successful fire & general business in Australia. Growing up hearing stories of how good advice and planning can make a real difference to people’s lives sparked a real interest. Working with lots of amazing people in various roles and companies really reinforced the difference the industry makes on a daily basis.
IB: You previously worked with a number of insurance organisations including Aon and Allianz Partners New Zealand. Most recently, you were the head of distribution at the Generate KiwiSaver Scheme. What have you learned from these experiences and how do these lessons help you now?
RE: The common theme with all of my roles really focuses on the human interaction side of the business – breaking down sometimes complex problems into solutions that the clients can relate to and execute is a skill I’ve enjoyed developing. Helping people spark an interest in the problems the industry can help tackle has been really rewarding.
IB: Tell us briefly about The Adviser Platform, its role with insurance advisers and in the insurance industry as a whole.
RE: We provide a platform that gives advisers the opportunity to fundamentally change how they run their businesses through the smart implementation of staffing, technology & process framework.
Our advisers enjoy full-time admin support from trained professionals who take care of most of the day to day operational workload, freeing up the adviser to focus on finding and servicing clients. This also allows any of their existing support staff to progress into a far more client-centric role, taking their time away from traditional ‘data entry and filing’ roles.
We believe that if we can help advisers run their businesses more efficiently, they are able to be more active and engaged with their clients. This ultimately helps the industry to grow as a whole because the focus is centred on the clients and the advice that is best suited to their individual needs.
Time is the most valuable resource an adviser has. Through our range of services, TAP gives the adviser their time back, allowing them to provide advice to a greater number of clients and grow their business faster.
IB: What do you see as the key areas of development for the insurance industry?
RE: Most advisers do a great job with their clients but generally struggle with the operational/admin side of their businesses, which is both a compliance headache and causes a lot of missed opportunity. This is the reason The Adviser Platform was born.
From the outside, a lot of the established aggregator business models appear fundamentally flawed and seem to provide very little tangible value for advisers on a day to day basis, which many advisers are starting to challenge.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity is for the industry to form a united voice and share more of the fantastic outcomes clients receive from good advice, rather than having the primary messages in the media be about the minority that causes issues.
IB: Any thoughts on the upcoming regulatory changes?
RE: It’s an exciting time for the industry! We think the changes are fantastic for the consumer and the industry as a whole. It’s been fantastic working with advisers looking to make some positive changes to their business so they can tackle the new regime with confidence. Conversely, there seems to be a huge segment of the market that seems to be grossly underestimating the impact the changes will have on their day to day workload and that are adopting a wait and see attitude – which we are challenging on a daily basis.
IB: Do you have any tips for success, for those wanting to enter the financial services industry?
RE: The industry is a fantastic place to add real value to clients and earn a great living. New advisers can thrive with the right platform and support network around them – so they can put their energy and focus into talking with people and extolling the virtues of great advice.
IB: What is one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?
RE: I enjoy practising Krav Maga.
IB: Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in financial advisory, I would be…
RE: A stay at home dad with my two kids, Henry & Maeve.