Back in my consulting days, one of my favourite books was Developing Knowledge Based Client Relationships by Ross Dawson. The first chapter alone is worth the price of the book - it posits that consultants provide superior value to their clients when they make their clients smarter.
I believe this line of thinking melds nicely with our approach at Steadyhand in working with our clients. Our service delivery model is Collaborative Investing. We work with clients to make them better investors through knowledge transfer and guidance, implemented via our simple, effective, and efficient investment platform. We took a similar approach at Steadyhand’s last strategy planning session, on Who We Want Our Clients to Become.
Riffing a little further on this theme, I’ve take some quotes from chapter 1 of Dawson’s book, and adapted them to the Steadyhand context (
strikethroughs and additions in blue are mine):
“Approaches to delivering
professional investment services can be divided into two categories: black box and knowledge based.”"
professional service investment firms deliver services in such a way that the client receives an outcome, but does not see the process involved, and is literally none the wiser as a result of the engagement. These black-box services are opaque to the client. Since the only reference point the client has is the result, it is relatively easy for other firms to replicate that result and then compete primarily on price product-specific performance. In other words, they are commoditizing the service. In addition, the only opportunities for interaction with the client in a blackbox engagement are during the briefing and the presentation of outcomes, leaving little scope for personal or organizational relationships to develop.”
“All professional services (including investment management) are based on specialized knowledge. When professionals engage with their clients to make them more knowledgeable, they are implementing knowledge-based services. The outcome is that clients are more knowledgeable, are able to make better decisions, and have enhanced capabilities. In short, the client is different as a result of the engagement.
Professional Investment firms and clients are pooling their capabilities to create results they could not achieve individually. This makes it impossible for competitors to replicate these outcomes. The entire engagement is based on rich interaction, meaning there are many opportunities to develop a valuable and lasting relationship.”