Lee Robertson: Marginalised advisers must work together


I have just had a truly fantastic weekend. I met up with a bunch of former Royal Navy communications and intelligence department colleagues that I had, with one exception, not seen for 30 years. Nothing very highbrow, it involved drinking, reminisces, tall stories (“dits” in naval parlance) and lots of fun. A whole heap of discussion took place about what we used to do and how we used to work together, learn from each other and improve upon what we did.

Nowadays this would be called sharing best practice. All branches of the military have always been keen on building excellence, practicing constantly what they do to improve and building close and productive bonds.

I humbly suggest that is why the UK military, of whatever branch, share an excellent worldwide reputation for professionalism in virtually any activity or role they find themselves deployed to do.

Fast forward to this week and I attended a regular meeting of like-minded advisers in London within a group I am a member of. All attendees are principals within their own firms,  strive for excellence and abide by the group rules which stipulate we must share experience, detail and even financial information upon request.

The group contains many who I like and respect most in our profession.

In what is often a lonely business for a business owner or an adviser, the ability to work together, learn from each other and improve what we do collectively has  a real resonance for me from my earliest working days in the armed forces. This is hardly new ground but I would suggest we can all improve collectively by learning from each other, discussing technical issues, compliance and regulation, software, staff pay issues and  just about everything else we have to deal with on a daily basis as well as attract, retain and satisfy our clients.

I read somewhere the other day that there are roughly the same amount of advisers as dentists in the UK and they are respected, valued and becoming rarer. Sound familiar? If this is the case, we are hardly tripping over each other as advisers, and nor are we competing for clients in any real sense.

So, let’s all work together then, form alliances, formal or informal, work for the common good, with and for each other, for our clients and for our staff. Share best practice, reach out to a fellow adviser, assist your supposed competitor. We are all in this together.

We can at times often feel very marginalised by the larger providers, the Government
and the regulator in the process of delivering excellent, technical and professional financial advice. Maybe together we can all begin to feel a little less so.

Lee Robertson is chief executive at Investment Quorum