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David Shelton: Regular reviews of RDR tranformations will be necessary

Having been abroad for the last three weeks it is interesting to catch up with trade press as a digest of the first month following the RDR deadline.

What a revelation! The market seems to be in feverish activity with no calm after the storm of finalising preparations for the post-RDR world. Many commentators, myself included, expected that 2013 would get off to a slow start as we finally began to put into practice all the plans developed throughout the previous 12 months. Perhaps this should not have been such a surprise – after all, clients still need to be seen and businesses managed.

There is always a ‘but’ and there is certainly one here. As best I can recall, the many ‘new worlds’ we have experienced over the years have not come to pass in the way we expected. Dire predictions of the disappearance of IFAs have never materialised and the market has settled back, closer to the old world as opposed to radically changing.

It is very early days but it seems different this time.

New methods of dealing with clients, changes in professional body guidance on recommendations, a wide variety of charging structures and some keen competition from some of the banks suggest a degree of change that will not revert to previous practice after a short time.

How should we respond to this as we chart a course through these first few months of adviser charging, new CPD programmes and the forthcoming thematic visits from the regulator in four key RDR areas?

The first action is to take no action – unless things are clearly going wrong.

If you have taken time to set charges and service and undertake training then stick to the plan. But keep very close to the trade press and news services and watch for changes and look for the trends.

Review the position after three months and again in the middle of the year. By then you should be able to spot what has really changed and what has remained stable.

If you do not normally undertake structured business planning this is the year to do it. You do need to take stock of how the business is faring and how the market has changed. Any time in the final quarter would be good. By then we will have enough experience to read the market and you will be well set for 2014. How time flies when you are busy!

David Shelton is the author of “The Business of Advice” book and website www.businessofadvice.co.uk

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