Power of Specialisation and Scale Drives Risk Advice Business Success Story


Power of Specialisation and Scale Drives Risk Advice Business Success Story

In 2016, MBS Insurance Directors Kris Mason and Drew Burden implemented a plan to utilise scale to transform their local advice practice into a unique, professional, national life insurance-only specialist advice business.


In an environment where the provision of risk advice is viewed with intense negativity by many industry pundits, MBS Insurance has defied this pessimism and expanded nationally with what we believe is a unique image and marketplace offering as a professional and specialised life insurance advisory business.

In 2016 we implemented a plan to transform MBS Insurance from a Sydney-based practice into an Australia-wide advice driven business delivering the highest standards of quality life insurance advice.

We steadfastly believed that our vision to be a risk advice-driven business would be achieved through specialisation – and that specialisation in turn would generate the scale required to grow and underpin a superior value proposition.

We also acknowledged that specialisation and scale were interlinked and operated in unison, as the success of each was dependent upon the other.

By specialising and through the benefit of scale, we narrowed the number of advice businesses that could compete with our group in delivering specialist life insurance advice solutions.

A further benefit of specialisation for MBS has been the lightening of the ‘load’ as all operational resources and infrastructure focus only on the provision of professional advice, scale and constantly improving quality and client engagement.

By specialising as a life insurance-only advice authority, we’ve found that this in turn has resulted in more productive conversations for clients and has accelerated growth opportunities for the group.

Through specialisation, we believe MBS has been able to operate under a brand that represents something unique in the industry, with results measured in better outcomes for clients, referral partners, staff and shareholders.

This was achieved with a business model that centred around:

  • A speciality focus
  • A partnership approach (with referrers and insurers alike)
  • Disciplined reinvestment into the business
  • A willingness to seize opportunities
  • An alignment with mid-tier accounting firms
  • A robust long-term strategy


Although financial services and the advice sector in particular have experienced over two decades of regulatory change and rationalisation, the next five years will be especially profound in terms of ongoing legislative change, product development and professional standard requirements for advice practitioners.

As a result, a significant trend that will reach its zenith during this period will be wealth management advisory firms and accounting businesses turning to specialist life insurance advice providers to complement their client service offering.

In growing numbers, wealth management businesses are coming to the realisation that the in-house provision of life insurance advice needed to underpin and protect the portfolios of private wealth / business owner clients can be achieved more efficiently and effectively via an alliance or partnership with MBS.

In doing so, such partnerships will serve to extensively enhance the client experience.

Perth-based 2020 Financial Planning Association winner HPH Solutions, Melbourne-based Scholten Collins McKissock and Sydney-headquartered Grange Wealth Advisors are the most recent firms to recognise this issue and now do so via a joint venture solution with MBS as the provider of professional life insurance services for their clients.

These recent additions have increased MBS’s branded and non-branded JVs to 14.

We value the reputation MBS has earned in the marketplace, what has been achieved to date and the depth of the operational infrastructure and the quality talented ‘behind the scenes’ team, guided by [MBS Insurance Partner] Carolyn Clark, that underpins the business.

Unlike a traditional model under which advisers have been increasingly burdened by paperwork and inefficient processes, MBS advisers focus almost entirely on the discovery process and the development of advice strategies for their clients and prospective clients.

Advice is documented by our dedicated advice compliance team and delivered to the client within ~48 hours. The application and underwriting process is then managed by paraplanners, policy inception and correspondence performed by client service managers and existing policy holder reviews conducted by our portfolio manager team.

It is a recognition that the administrative burden imposed on advisers is immense and by actively managing and supporting them they can provide advice to more Australians.

It also demonstrates that provision of risk advice through specialisation is not a ‘set and forget function’. MBS has invested significantly in technology, paraplanning, compliance, people and culture – and now through the benefits of specialisation and scale we have the capacity and resources to provide a seamless life insurance solution for high-end wealth management firms.

…MBS has grown from $8M in premiums under management to more than $80M


Since ‘scaling up’ in 2016 MBS has grown from $8M in premiums under management to more than $80M in 2021. This has been achieved through organic growth and acquisition.

Although MBS is bullish about the next five years, it is going to be a period of intense pain for all stakeholders across the industry. Premium price instability is going to be a challenge for advisers and manufacturers alike, as is the sheer volume of clients holding uncompetitive policies and their ability to obtain access to tailored advice.

As a result, there is an innovation imperative and the life insurance industry needs to pivot from being traditionally risk-averse to one that is more innovative and progressive.

To address this, MBS is currently engaged in conversations with leading insurers for a bespoke product with much needed features for modern-day clients.


For MBS, the benefits of this will include:

  • Greater B2B opportunities as wealth specialists exit the insurance market and look to firms that can deliver tangible (better) outcomes for their clients
  • New business opportunities for MBS’s advice team and an incentive for high performing advisers to join the group
  • Better outcomes for clients, JV partners and incentive for client-to-client referrals
  • A greater level of protection and most importantly, retention of business is significantly enhanced


From the outset, we’ve been resolute in our determination to be an advice-driven business that is solely focussed on delivering the highest standards of quality advice and providing our advisers with a framework that lets them do what they do best – serve their clients’ best interests.

Looking to the future, from 2022 we anticipate supporting more self-employed advisers with their operational infrastructure and offering them a succession plan as they transition out of the industry.

We believe MBS’s specialisation and capacity will see wealth management businesses in growing numbers utilising an alliance or partnership with our advice group to more efficiently and effectively protect the portfolios of private wealth and accounting clients.