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Action and reaction

Over the last month there has been significant disruption to plans and it has been interesting to see the reaction and outcomes to them.

Of significant scale was the G20 demonstrations and of lesser note was the Chartered Insurance Institute dinner cancelled because of a gas leak in the Guildhall, moments before the guests were due to arrive.

In both cases, there were really positive outcomes. The G20 carried on and got to a better place than they had probably been expecting to. Workers in the City were obviously affected but it did not stop people finding ways to do business.

The Institute of Financial Planning’s Dennis Hall was even able to provide commentary on the protests from his office on Twitter all day.

The CII were able to move the dinner guests to its Aldermanbury building and still provide entertainment. Many of the guests enjoyed themselves more because they were able to network with more of the guests than normal.

This brings us back to the retail distribution review and the relentless progress to put sensible suggestions into the consultation paper in June for us to debate for the rest of the year.

Many are calling for the RDR to be delayed or cancelled because of the economy and difficulties that many are facing. There are undoubtedly significant challenges that face us all but the outcomes that we desire must continue to be fleshed out on the journey to higher standards and a profession that we can all be proud of.

There is a greater level of satisfaction to be had when there has been hard work committed to achieve the objective.
Most people that I speak to tell me that it is difficult to argue with higher levels of qualification, more transparency with remuneration strategies and better businesses.

If this is the case, it is worth pursuing the goal to get there. Putting back the timeframe for many will mean an opportunity to do nothing for a bit longer.

The current market allows us a real opportunity to lead the profession and to create an environment that consumers can start to place genuine trust in. The Government, FSA and the banks currently instil little consumer confidence. But I hope the proposed independent standards board will succeed where these players have failed and improve consumer trust by introducing consistency of standards across examinations, CPD and ethical behaviour.

The IFP response to the prudential requirements consultation paper warned against unintended consequences.

This is really important as we consider the RDR proposals and, difficult though it may seem, put the consumer at the heart of the proposals.

If, when reviewing them, we cannot see a sensible workable strategy to achieve this, then we should reject them. If they are to be rejected though, let us ensure that it is on the right grounds.

Nick Cann is chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning

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