Recently, I found myself in the midst of a conference call with a financial planner based in the US, providing some generic advice for one of his clients who had formerly been based in the UK.
This led to me explaining how UK contracts deliver benefits and delivering the bad news re his enquiry as to whether or not there was any possibility of transferring benefits either offshore or indeed across to the U.S.
Without dwelling on the subject of Qrops, it is not currently possible to move pension benefits to the States, so this created the potential effect of shortening our discussion, however, the reason we had to stop the discussion was because my time was limited as I was heading off to Round Table as one of the honorary members to discuss our activities at the forthcoming fireworks display. When I explained why I had to ring off, the US. adviser asked why the fireworks always took place at the same time of the year in the UK and I had to explain this was to commemorate someone who was trying to blow up Parliament.
It was at that point that my American contact said: “Well, let’s just hope the CIA is not listening or they might get the entirely wrong idea.”
Guy Fawkes, if you like, was looking for change. He had a somewhat dramatic way of trying to bring it about but nonetheless that uncompromising approach has got a lot of value to it. I believe that one of the things that is going to hold people back over the next couple of years is their resistance to change. Their idea, that really there is enough time to do all this and don’t worry about it, we’ll catch up, or you know, something will come along and sort things out, or perhaps the Tories will decide to cancel the RDR and let us go back to doing what we were doing.
People’s business models have to change and have to improve. We only have to go back to the Ned Cazalet report Polly Put the Kettle On to realise there is an ever diminishing circle of money as far as pension savings are concerned and that providers simply could not go on paying out for the same money every three years. Nor was that necessarily going to be in the interests of the client themselves.
In fact, the position of the client has been absent from many of the calls for deferment, grandfathering or abandonment of the RDR.
Last week, some were less than happy re my comments, I have to say the detractors were, with two exceptions, anonymous and, given their stated views, that is a position they will attain in due course and in all things.
When we researched the public for the chartered financial planner, we found out that many of the public assumed that everybody was at degree level or above already, so we have a public believing that we are at a far higher level than the reality.
I think that anyone who hesitates on the way up to 2012 is simply going to find themselves working in ever decreasing circles.
Guy Fawkes may have been too violent in his approach but having seen some of the people stalling and whinging I think a bit of gunpowder under some firms might actually be the catalyst to change that will work best.
Rob Reid is managing director of Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners