The first of the Money Marketing Business Transition round tables brought together disparate experts with very different histories.
Naturally, the discussion was lively in places, but there was a surprising amount of consensus over the value that advisers need to bring to clients.
In the past, the system has set many advisers in conflict with their clients, simply because of the need to sell a product to get paid. Many advisers have managed this skilfully and managed to serve both their own interests and those of their clients but the RDR offers the opportunity for that conflict to be removed altogether.
The trouble is that many advisers are still looking at transitioning their old business rather than looking at how their business could look in an ideal world.
What would be the ideal mechanism to serve clients? What do clients really want from the advice process? The panel generally agreed that whole of market was not as important as the regulatory environment would suggest. Sure, clients don’t want to be flogged terrible products purely to boost the remuneration of the adviser but they are more focused on whether a product does the job for them rather than what it is or whether the adviser has considered every option on the market.
It has been pointed out that an adviser’s best clients have often been with them through their time as a tied, multi-tie, independent advice and any other hats they have worn. The important thing is the relationship and whether clients trust their adviser to do the right thing for them.
Ultimately, the idea that clients value trust is nothing new but the difference between the value as seen by the client and the value as seen by the regulator are finally moving closer together. Advisers finally have the opportunity to align their own interests and those of their clients but it will take a change of approach.
Instead of advisers thinking about how they can deliver the advice they have always done post-RDR, it is worth considering how to deliver the advice that the client really values for the long term.