The value of your office

For 20 years, the office of Bhupinder S. Anand, ACII, Dip PFS, from London, England, U.K., was at the same prestigious address in London’s downtown West End. Early in his career as a financial advisor, the location was close to many of his clients and it added to his credibility. The cost of the location also added up to a tidy sum of money every year. Still, Anand, an MDRT member since 1996 and a 20-year Top of the Table qualifier, always thought it was worth it. Once the pandemic hit, however, clients obviously stopped coming to his office.

Anand was already accustomed to meeting with numerous clients via Zoom, so transitioning to all meetings on Zoom was fairly painless. His office, though, was turning out to be a costly overhead for video meetings being held at home.

“The office was a complete drain for something I wasn’t really using,” Anand said. Even in the future, Anand is not expecting to resume the same use of his office. For instance, many of his clients are likely to prefer the convenience of Zoom for quick check-ins. Also, as a more established financial advisor, he doesn’t need to impress new clients with his business address. Furthermore, Anand’s clients are no longer concentrated in the West End. Instead, they’re spread throughout the country.

Making the move

When Anand’s lease recently came up for renewal, he did something he would have never considered prior to the pandemic: He packed up his office and rented a new office in the outskirts of London.

The move allowed Anand to cut expenses for his office space by 75%, and additionally save on transportation time and costs. Previously, it cost him about £100, or $138, per week for the train commute to the West End. Now, it’s a 10- to 15-minute drive to the office where he parks in an underground garage. It also gives his clients a place to park, if they decide they’d like to visit his office.

Reviewing expenses

As many advisors tell their clients, there are two parts to wealth management — earning money and not spending more than you make. “Reviewing expenses is the norm. I should have looked at the overhead expenses of my office before and reviewed the cost of the lease every time it was up for renewal, but I was always so busy and took it for granted,” Anand said.

The pandemic, though, allowed Anand a chance to decide if his office was still working for him, or if he was working harder than he should just to maintain his address. Now he wishes he made the move to the new office sooner.

“All advisors should proactively set aside time to review business processes and overhead. They should consider whether there is room for cost savings and improvements to efficiency, rather than waiting for circumstances to force that change,” Anand said.

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