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Complacency will get you nowhere

As the days get shorter and the weeks begin to fly by even faster, the pressure on the advice community is beginning to grow as firms prepare their responses to the retail distribution review.

The key message being hammered home by Aifa and many large distribution groups is that although they will be putting together their responses on behalf of individual firms and RIs, it is the individual parts, as well as the sum of them, that will really force the regulator to sit up and take notice.

Over recent weeks, we have heard from Positive Solutions, Bankhall and Clarkson Hill at their respective annual conferences about their positions on the RDR, any threats it might bring and how these ought to be addressed.

Most recently, Money Portal unveiled its various plans for Sage and Bates and how they will form its response to the RDR, to be submitted over the coming weeks.

If I had to pull out a single RDR-specific message from this week, having spoken to individual advisers and also the directors of various organisations, it is that these “threats” must be turned into opportunities.

And if the regulator is calling on an industry-led response to its “industry-led” discussion paper, then it is time that the questions were answered and solutions put forward.

While Aifa and larger firms will act on the behalf of the individuals, it is worth highlighting the words of Sage managing director Frank Gorrie who rallied his troops earlier this week at the network’s conference by saying “Do not underestimate the power that 200 individual responses could have as well”.

Now of course, a cynic may say “of course then the regulator will just say they don’t have the manpower to read them all” But at least the ball will be in its court.

Aifa’s biggest-ever survey of IFAs launches this week, responses to which will help form part of its RDR submission.

Director general Chris Cummings has assured members it will only take 30 minutes to an hour of an adviser’s time to complete and its impact will be invaluable.

He is urging IFAs not to procrastinate, not to rely on others to make their voices heard, avoid the ostrich approach and ensure everything possible has been done to get the desired response over loud and clear.

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