What a year this promises to be. First, we have a long awaited spectacle where the very best of the best will compete against each other in a desperate race to the finish. The winners will be showered will praise and glory while the losers will fall by the wayside.
I am talking, of course, about the Olympic Games but following that is another race, which the entire financial services industry is desperately training for – at least, they should be. The RDR is just round the corner.
As the year progresses, I think we can expect to hear a lot more noise from some platforms, providers, networks and other IFA groups, all desperate to show how ready they are for the RDR. Those who are not ready will be keeping a low profile but it is only a matter of time before they are exposed.
It is about now that reality will start to kick in, especially for those who have not yet started the process of making their business RDR-ready. This is not something that can be achieved overnight and those who are only just starting the process are going to find it a long, uphill struggle.
This period of time can be seen as a warming-up session, if you will, ahead of the starting gun, which we will hear at the end of this year.
I believe that throughout the course of this year the winners and losers will be identified. I am not just talking about those who will be ready for the RDR and those who will not.
By the time we hit that all important deadline, I believe we will have a much clearer idea of who is likely to survive in the industry over the next five years.
The winners – the Olympians of financial services, if you will – are those who have already begun the transition towards the RDR and have made their business sustainable for what comes after.
Those who have not yet begun this process are likely to struggle in the years to come – the financial equivalent of trying to run a marathon with no training.
In common with those who are taking part in the Olympics this year, the key for those in the industry is to keep their eyes on the prize.
Instead of medals and world records, the prize for us is simply to be in a good shape by the end of the year.
The countdown has well and truly begun and those who are not prepared are going to be left standing when the starting gun sounds.
Paul Hogarth is founder of Paradigm Partners