Keeping up to date record of advice (ROA) documents is an essential part of being an adviser. It helps you build efficiencies, sort out client complaints quickly and prevents issues from escalating.
How do you write a record of advice?
The record of advice is a document which you provide to your clients upon request. It can be as simple as a file note, or it could be a detailed and carefully structured document which you prepare by hand and place in your client’s file.
What you need to include in your ROA varies depending on what kind of advice is being given, and the needs of the client. You need to document the scope, goals and objectives of the advice, costs and risks involved, as well as any other relevant information.
You may also want to include a summary of any warnings which you have communicated to the client. This is important to ensure you are not breaching any rules by giving the advice.
It is also a good idea to include a summation of any limitations on the advice you can give, such as your own interests, or those of the licensee. This may be especially useful where you are providing a replacement product that does not comply with the recommendations of the SOA, or if you recommend that the client disposes of a particular product.
One licencee we know has developed a grid where each entry relates to a telephone conversation with the client, and whether or not it constitutes an ROA depends on what is being said and done during the call. This can be quite helpful, as it makes it easy to distinguish between a personal advice ROA and a general ROA which does not include any advice.