All IFAs have heard the hype about life planning and there is intense curiosity about what it is all about. Aside from anything else, it is a vehicle for making IFAs and financial planning something that is more appealing and relevant to today’s consumers.
It is a huge opportunity for IFAs. I fully understand that some will say it is fluffy American life coaching. There is no place for that in financial planning. But this is the reason why myself and Tina Weeks are putting on an introduction to life planning workshops, literally to cut through the hype and show what it is all about, show how one financial planner has introduced it in to her business and we will also show how to market and promote your life planning service using traditional and more online techniques.
The whole life planning movement is the most phenomenal opportunity for IFAs to rethink their business models. It gives them a damn good excuse to switch to a fees basis, quite apart from RDR implications.
We are not saying you need to completely change your business model overnight. This is one option but another option is to introduce it as an additional service or you could integrate some of the life planning questioning skills into the current process.
The RDR is the least of IFAs’ concerns. What they really have not got to grips with yet is the impact that the internet is going to have on the whole financial planning profession because more and more consumers will be able to be able to more and more personal financial products without any help.
Anyone who deals with money is under the spotlight at the moment. Our industry has got to work extremely hard to make itself more appealing, attractive and build the perception of trustworthiness.
Introducing life planning could turn really good IFA firms into absolutely outstanding ones. The business case is all there, George Kinder has done a lot of work analysing firms that have introduced life planning to look at how it has affected the business model and everything is very positive.
Some IFAs may be worrying about moving to a fee-based model and are worried about the implication of RDR. Introducing life planning into proposition could rescue some failing IFA firms.
If you introduce life planning and combine that with quite a serious internet presence, then I think you are really positioning yourself very favourably for the future.
I have no doubt that the early adopters of life planning, combined with good use of the internet, will survive and thrive.
Philip Calvert is founder of IFA Life