Preparation for the exams is often cited as the essential element of the process of moving to level four. Yet many still fail to set enough time aside to assimilate the required level of knowledge, which does not bode well when the same individuals make the move to adviser-charging.
The IFA sector remains the domain of the artisan due to the high percentage of advisers who are self-employed. This constant reinvention of the proverbial wheel simply increases the cost to the client and does nothing to ensure quality is delivered.
As David Shelton states in his new book, and I paraphrase: “No process means no proposition,” yet, for many, this regularity of delivery is complete anathema. Yet those same individuals demand consistency of service in all other aspects of their lives and even more ironically are prepared to pay for it. When it comes to communicating the value of their proposition or developing one that people would play for and recommend to others they balk at it.
Now, developing a proposition is not something that can be done at zero cost and there too hangs a tale. I constantly read of advisers complaining about the cost of examinations, the cost of moving to fees and so on. Why can they not see this as an investment? It is ironic that we spend our time telling clients to focus on the importance of advice yet many will not invest in its development or refinement.
I am sure some may tell me that these costs are a barrier, yet why was it not a barrier to us early adopters? I was once told that advisers were too busy to study or, worse still, that the financial planning certificate was a one-off, the likes of which would not be seen again.
We need to encourage all advisers to become followers of the glass half-full view of life, the opposite will rarely provide the opportunity to move forward with any confidence. Most advisers have a genuine wish to help their clients and this is a message that needs collective reinforce-ment. Working together will be the new model that truly helps many firms to prosper and develop. Feeling sorry for ourselves is corrosive and needs to be avoided at all costs.
Helping each other will enable a faster transition and allow all involved to avoid the mistakes made by others. Making mistakes should not be a source of shame but a badge of experience. The providers can be the enablers, subsidising process development and testing, they cannot all provide a business doctor service.
Last weekend, I struggled to assemble a patio heater as the instructions were less than clear, I then realised that the manufacturer was based in Germany and decided that there was a significant chance that the instructions may not have been translated effectively.
Using my schoolboy German, the instructions made more sense and the job was completed in a matter of moments.
Maybe that is the real issue in transition and if the message is translated properly it will all work out. That risk of inaccurate translation applies to clients and advisers alike.
Robert Reid is managing director of Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners