In 2015 we decided to take up an opportunity to work with Virtual Business Partners in Cebu, Philippines to grow our administrative team and reduce the paperwork burden for our Client Support Managers and Advisers. Our motivation for doing this was two-fold:
- We wanted our team members who work face-to-face with clients to have more time to do what they do best, work with clients.
- We wanted to continue to ensure our service offer was completely compliant and efficient as regulations changed, so that our clients were getting the best advice at a price point that provided value to them.
Since our ‘trial’ in 2015, we have grown this team so that each of our offices has a dedicated Administrative Assistant to provide support. Both of our initial objectives were resoundingly met; but there were other benefits we had not considered, including:
- By having a team with a specific focus, they have been able to identify better ways of doing things
- Having an integrated team member outside of the office has meant we have had to be very routine in our processes and communications. This has lead to the team feeling more connected and aware of workload and client needs.
- There is a wonderful cultural exchange between our ‘Aussie’ and ‘Cebu’ offices. Each team has had representatives travel back and forth and we have developed close relationships with each other.
As an industry that is always changing, we have found that this additional support in resources has led to great outcomes for our people and our clients. The following answers some of the common questions we are asked about this relationship.
Invest Blue’s advice team’s Administrative Assistants: Mike, Jefrey, Donalyn, Ynna, Alexandra, Riga, Leah, Kimberly, Chrisal, Brylle, and Albert.
Invest Blue’s Support Team’s Administrative Assistants: Cliff, Scar, Ralph, Jasmine, Cherry, Bryton, Banessa, Caress, Biena, Ian, and Van.
Does this mean fewer Australians have jobs?
No. None of our Australian team members have lost a job because of this team. We have expanded our workloads to offer more to our clients rather than cutting roles.
Is my data safe?
We work entirely within a web-based financial planning platform with strict security protocols. Where our employees are located does not impact this safety.
Are the employees in Cebu treated fairly?
Yes. Our people in Cebu earn a relatively high wage for their work and are completely integrated into the teams they work within at Invest Blue. They are part of our daily, weekly and quarterly planning sessions and huddles. They have an equal say about their work and contribution. Everyone at Invest Blue is encouraged to share ideas and contribute to their team’s success regardless of their location or position. Culturally, Invest Blue has a very high people-engagement rate, and this includes routine measurement of the perception of all our people. In our recent ‘Great Places to Work’ survey, all of our people, including those in Cebu were asked to contribute. We came out #5 in the Top 50 Places to Work in Australia. This independent assessment of our culture is a true testament to how well the relationship is working.
As members of the ‘Invest Blue’ team but part of Virtual Business Partners, our team members are also up for awards in their own Company. We were delighted to hear that Alex, Administrative Assistant for the Central Coast Team, took out the “Core Values” culture award this year, and that the whole Invest Blue Team won the “Best Team of the Year”.
Is language a barrier?
No. All of our people in Cebu have excellent English skills. Many of them can speak 3 or more languages! Each person goes through an intensive training program, including specific Australian Financial Services training and must pass several knowledge and communication tests before they join our team.
How do you work together?
The time difference is only 2 hours, so we can have the same schedules. We use a video-based communication tool that allows us to speak and see each other throughout the day. We work this way across all our sites, and Cebu is no different.
As a client, will I speak with a team member in Cebu?
You may. Our Administrative Assistants are included in the appropriate authorities to help you through the advice process. They may email you to ask for more information at some point along the way.
If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.