Shouting out from the back of the room at the Money Marketing RDR Invitation event, a delegate suggested nothing was being done to help advisers with the various aspects of transition. The implication was that there should be more done for free by providers.
At a time when advisers are becoming more professional and charging their clients properly for their services, perhaps it is time there should be more explicit cost in the support provided to the adviser market. One of the arguments made to the advisers is clients have to value the service they are receiving from the adviser to pay the likely fees they are going to have to pay for the advice. As advisers need to consider what accredited body to choose and seek out specific CPD to achieve and then retain their statement of professional standing, time and value will become even more important.
There is a huge amount of support provided to advisers. There are academies to help with qualifications, gap-filling events, reading and e-learning and a growing number of business transition sessions. The challenge for most is where to get relevant support and what organisation is best suited to help. It is important to get the client proposition right and understand what their market is and what their market is not. Every business transition seminar will contain a session on client segmentation and professional bodies and soon to be accredited bodies will be no different.
One of the differences is there will have to be some structure and diversification to the CPD that advisers are undertaking. Of the 35 hours a year 21 hours will have to be structured. There will need to be some learning outcomes and benefits to be considered for it to pass the audit requirements of the accredited bodies. Those putting on events and support will have to think about their content far harder so they are not wasting delegates’ time. The providers will have to think of how they present their material.
The IFP has applied to the FSA to become an accredited body. All organisations will know by June if they have been successful and can then plan with confidence. At this stage, we are making the assumption we are going to be successful because what an accredited body is being asked to do is core to the operation of a professional body. Like others, we already do it.
For 25 years, the IFP has listened to feedback from the financial planning profession about requirements for the financial planner and the financial planning business. This has meant the addition of the paraplanner role in 2009 which also deserves specific professional development and support. The first-ever paraplanner conference will take place on May 25 and will recognise those who have passed the certificate in paraplanning and become accredited paraplanners. The point is that we know who our market is and their requirements.
Nobody likes to pay for things but there is a certain inevitability about it. Nobody really likes exams, it is not just an age thing. The challenge is to seek out the people and organisations that can offer best value, content and service for the money you pay. Transition will then become a really positive and beneficial experience.
Nick Cann is chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning