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Glad tidings of good planning

I need your help in two ways. First, to participate in the President&#39s Challenge, a fantastic opportunity to raise some much needed funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and have a lot of fun in the process. Why not take up the challenge and put together a team? Let us show that we can unite as a profession to act unselfishly for the benefit of others.

Second, we must start to get some good news back into the press about the real value of what we do for a living.

Several years ago, the LIA launched an Industry Realities campaign with actual case studies showing how clients had benefited in different scenarios. These highlighted the value of advice. Unfortunately, funding for the initiative did not last very long and the project could not continue. However, in its short life span, it did help to get the message across.

On my most recent trip to the US, I was introduced to a initiative called Life, which is funded mainly by insurance companies. It is aimed at raising consumer awareness and, as well as providing case studies and promotional information, is also involved in TV advertising. Some of its ads may be a bit hard-hitting for a British audience but the concept is excellent. After all, we know how underprotected the majority of our population are.

Only 55 per cent of households purchase any life cover whatsoever, 9 per cent medical insurance and 2 per cent income protection. This means there are many millions of people without any cover. Furthermore, those with cover are often at woefully inadequate levels.

Wouldn&#39t it be fantastic if we could start a good news initiative and build up a bank of real-life examples of how advice by a financial adviser made a tangible difference in people&#39s lives? These should not only include cases where policies have paid out but where savings or increased efficiency have been achieved.

As an example, think of the potential savings we make for clients every time we put a life policy in trust. If you have any thoughts or ideas on how we could start a good news campaign or some examples that could be used in any such initiative, please let me know by emailing Gavin@lia.co.uk

Shouldn&#39t we be shouting from the rooftops about the value of the advice process? After all, who is really in touch with consumers on a day-to-day basis? Who knows their concerns, objectives and priorities better than us, their advisers?

Who understands how to balance their budgetary constraints with their need for action to provide protection and peace of mind against unforeseen circumstances while planning for the future and a dignified retirement?

Who motivates clients to take actions that are in their own best interests? It certainly will not be the information givers or stakeholder suite peddlers.

A colleague on the LIA board recently pointed out to me that, if members had six face-to-face meetings each week with clients or prospective clients, in a year, that would be more than 6.5 million face-to face-meetings with consumers. If you roll that out to the number of active advisers, you must be talking about 15 million such events each and every year.

Without being too presumptuous, I think I can safely say this represents a much more significant voice than we are currently being credited with.

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