Being a bit of a tennis fan, I look forward to Wimbledon each year, not only for
the matches but also for the discussions and debates.
I likened the tennis debates to the financial planning world at the moment.
There were a number of young (under 30) players all showing great aptitude to take the crown. Then there was the “old guard” – a term I have also used – who continue to dominate and have the best all round game.
A player who has been on the pro circuit for 17 years beat Rafa Nadal. One of the “old guard”, you might say, that only few rated and gave a voice to but one who had worked hard, listened and learned to improve himself.
In this respect, Wimbledon has lots of similarities to the financial planning profession.
A number of younger professionals are showing themselves as hard working and enlightened individuals with a goal to improving the quality of financial planning advice being given to the public, as well as stepping forward to help develop the profession as a whole.
Meanwhile, the old guard, whom some are discounting as on the way out, have continued to learn and develop themselves and now have a more rounded “game” than ever before.
No one stays the same. We all try and develop ourselves, whatever our age and irrespective of our time in the profession. We expose ourselves to new and different ways of thinking; we continually challenge ourselves and others.
Some will, understandably, not want to get involved or learn from afar. But just because some are not active in a particular debate does not mean they are not watching or learning.
I was recently reading about what is happening in the US, where the CPF Board/FPSB have partnered with several universities to investigate the art of financial planning with scientific rigour.
The universities have created financial planning laboratories where, under controlled conditions, real clients are assessed for their responses and understanding of the financial planning process. The early results are interesting and will undoubtedly help us all develop our understanding of how clients relate and digest the planning process, and how and why they engage a planner.
In order to keep the profession developing, we have a collective responsibility to engage with others and learn new things as much as our time allows.
Let’s get out there and meet new people, open our minds to developing ourselves and our profession.
Let’s look at things differently and not judge the new shining stars or those more established in the profession. Let’s challenge each other to do our bit.
After all, the result might just be better, more cost-effective advice for the public, as well as recognition as a profession, not an industry churning out products.
Jacqueline Lockie is deputy head of financial planning at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment