Five minutes with…Clive Waller

CWC Research managing director Clive Waller talks soft skills and what the sector may look like in 10 years time ahead of Money Marketing Interactive Harrogate. 

Money Marketing: What soft skills are needed for a modern adviser and why?

Waller: As more and more is carried out online, the need for great communication skills and empathy will increase. Machines do facts and data. Humans do emotion.

Will one man bands continue to be a prominent feature of the market, or will provider plays into distribution take over?

They just seem to hang on in there – nearly half of firms. For me, the complexity of advice needs a broad range of expertise. In addition, there is a need to understand IT, risk and regulation, operations and HR. I would never go to an adviser who did not have a fully resourced business. There is no need to.

Are profit levels across the advice industry sustainable?

Digitalisation and scale will lead to lower costs. Transparency should lead to greater competition. This should all create downward pressure on charges. This does not mean lower margins, however.

How do we communicate what a great career financial planning is to youngsters?

There is no doubt that legislation and regulation will increase rather than decrease the need for advice. For me, all careers are about the people you deal with. The advice business is about helping people.

What will the advice profession look like in 10 years’ time?

Well, it might become a profession! That means a high standard of entry (like all the professions), higher levels of qualification and, most importantly, managed field training. Would be doctors train in hospital with patients, supervised by doctors. Trainee accountants go out on audits etc, etc. Finally, a profession has standard, agreed, processes and solutions. Advisers argue of basics. That just confuses clients.

Hear Waller at the MMI Harrogate conference on 12 September. To register for the event click here


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  1. Is pointless research a profession? Full of his own self-importance and no end product!

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