This is my last column as CEO of the Personal Finance Society but rather than look backwards over the past five years, I want to look to the future.
The face of financial planning is changing, new business models are evolving and new technologies are helping to deliver services in ways not thought possible even five years ago.
Yes, the RDR has accelerated some of these changes but most would have happened anyway – perhaps just in a longer timeframe.
Platforms are not a regulatory creation and the growth in the use of model portfolios and discretionary investment services are market solutions, designed to improve and widen services to clients.
The market leads innovation, regulation follows these developments. A clear example is the further delay in the final rules pertaining to platforms, where the market is moving faster than the regulator can draft the rules.
So what will the future of the profession look like?
The advisory market appears to be dividing into primarily three business models; highly professional financial planning services targeting the wealthy, more transactional based services for the mass affluent and non advised product sales.
There also appears to be a growing number of businesses that are offering more than one type of service, even amongst smaller firms. This is not surprising as the need for financial advice is wide ranging, as is the type of person that requires our services.
Whilst the recent changes do not appear to have had much impact on existing clients, reaching the disengaged and gaining their trust is still a big challenge that will take time and small but regular steps.
Someone who lacks confidence in financial services generally is unlikely to sign up to a full financial planning service on day one but may start on the journey by seeking advice on say, an Isa investment or contact about auto-enrolment.
How we deal with these clients will determine the length of their journey to becoming life-long clients, which is why acting professionally and with integrity at every stage of the process is essential, whatever the service, including non-advised.
This message is endorsed by the regulator, who has already started to take a close look at the non-advised market.
Having spent 28 years of my working life in the world of financial advice, I have seen many changes, including four regulators, the decimation of traditional life offices, the introduction of fund supermarkets and platforms, the growth in passive investment and the notable move from selling products to financial planning.
The emergence of a chartered financial planning profession has helped raise the professionalism and perception of what we do and we need to keep building on the success.
As for me, well, I will be sad to leave the PFS as I have had five years working with some of the best people in the business, both within the CII and externally.
I am delighted however, to be handing over the mantle to Keith Richards, who, with his great experience and knowledge of the sector, will be an excellent leader of the PFS and ready to take on the next phase of challenges.
Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society