David Child has taken the helm at one of the country's most ambitious adviser firms. Paul Robertson talks to Lifesearch's new managing director
David Child is really quite a busy man. Just a few weeks ago he took on the role of managing director at Lifesearch but is also chairman of Baigrie Davies, which includes both Lifesearch and the Baigrie Davis IFA business. In addition, he is chairman of a company called Dunstan Thomas, which is a software business based in Portsmouth.
With all this on, we should not be surprised that his new role is just three days a week. The position is a two-pronged attack to improve Lifesearch’s business: to free up CEO Tom Baigrie for other duties outside the minutiae of running the firm and to allow Child’s fresh eye to drive Lifesearch internally.
“My role is really to drive the business from, I suppose, an operations and a sales perspective, and to run the financial part of the business,” said Child.
“Tom’s developing two things; better relationships with existing customers – so the ASDAs of this world – and driving new relationships, business development opportunities with big customers.
“This split of responsibilities is working for both of us. The business is being driven forward internally by me, but equally, Tom is getting out more and it’s really the more people you talk to, the more people are interested in what we’ve got to say.”
It is fair to say that Lifesearch is one of the most innovative adviser firms in the current market, including designing the concept behind Ageas’ Real Life Cover and an attempt to get the entire market to advertise protection jointly. It recently announced an adviser referral scheme, completing advised protection sales for other brokers. The target market, at least to begin with, is the larger adviser firms.
Child would not be drawn on the scheme’s success to date, which is fair enough as the scheme is not yet a month old. But why would other large adviser firms stop selling protection internally?
“The key is scale,” Child said. “We’ve got a large number of advisers, about 100 now, who are steeped in the market place; they’re specialist. People are looking at us and saying, ‘Actually these guys are doing this so well, the complaints are almost non-existent, their persistency rates in terms of our book of business is really strong.’ The story is very compelling, and the capability we have is very compelling.”
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