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Aifa: Communicating the RDR to your clients

The eyes of the world have been on the UK during its unprecedented summer of celebrations, with the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics. As we get back to business as usual, financial regulators around the globe will increasingly be watching the progress of RDR, given that we are considered to be one of the world leaders in financial services.

Although some firms are fully prepared and RDR-ready, many more will be increasing their focus on the changes that need to be made to their businesses in the run-up to the end of the year. To date, the feedback we have been getting is that firms have considered their position now, considered what they want their business to look like in the future and segmented their clients to fit in to that model.

Communicating the client proposition is the next step and one that some firms are finding a little more difficult. Most firms will have segmented their clients into a number of groups depending on affluence, level of service and advice that they are likely to need. This may well be the first time that firms have considered their client base in this way but it will need to be done unless the decision has been made to only take on clients that have the same requirements.

Your client proposition should be:

Transparent: A description of what you do for clients, when you will do it and how you add value to them, for example, frequency of review, adviser access, services that you offer. These services can include complete financial planning, tax and estate planning, financial independence, reducing risk and volatility. Core value services can include access to qualified financial advice offering clients peace of mind.

Clear: Use plain English. Avoid using financial services’ terminology and abbreviations. Think about how your client will read your literature. Does it provide the professionalism and reassurance you are aiming for?

Compliant: This should take into account the compliance requirements of the RDR – disclosure of status and what this entails (for example, full, limited or restricted analysis of the market), charging structure and level of qualifications (for example, QCF level 4).

Relevant / Segmented: If you offer different levels of service, clearly define and state what these are.

It may be that your existing clients will see no difference in the way that they receive advice from you, be it independent, restricted or a mix of both. Being able to communicate the value of your proposition to existing and potential clients will be an important factor.

In partnership with Zurich, Aifa has developed a modular-based business transition programme which includes information on the client proposition and more. Details can be found at

Linda Smith is senior technical analyst at Aifa


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Hello all you sick twisted freaks!

    The eyes of the world are on the RDR only to the extent that they can’t believe that the FSA is being allowed to sail the entire British financial services fleet onto the rocks of a Utopian ideal.

    Let us consider for a moment some teeny weeny things wrong with RDR.

    Mmmmm…… Let me see. Oh, yes! How about a business having to tell 1/3rd of its clients to get stuffed! Then there’s the small matter of the older and more experienced advisers being driven out of business. If anyone tried to pull this stunt in a business controlled by Alan Sugar these two little embarrassments alone would have him shouting down the phone to the effect of, ‘What the %$£@! do you think you’re doing?’

    He’d then ask a question: ‘Did anyone of you idiots stop and ask the customer what THEY wanted?’

    And of course, there’s the rub. The FSA in all its self-styled greatness never bothered to stop and ask the customer what he wanted.

    In fact, has anyone asked the man in the street if he wants RDR?


    The thing that characterises RDR is rooms full of people who can’t do the job telling those who do job exceedingly well how to do it whilst at the same time ignoring their pleas to the effect that what them that don’t do the job want to achieve cannot be achieved.

    The FSA is populated by people who have never met a client, never even sat in a client meeting. Never run a business.

    God help us!

    Love to all!

    Larrykins xx

  2. Aifa, next time you want to patronise IFAs, keep it in-house and just do it to the handful of IFAs who choose to part with their hard-earned and retain membership of your organisation.

    You stood by and watched this RDR car-crash happening. Don’t patronise us now with your provider-sponsored ‘helpful’ suggestions; I may well be tempted to use some of your recommended ‘plain English’ myself. Go away.

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