What I like about Plutus is that the company is constantly trying to improve what it is doing and is not scared to put something to one side if it does not work.
It is important to realise that although all companies will try to change, not all of them will be successful in the first iteration of a new proposition. What Georgina also illustrates is that you cannot predict client behaviour and therefore the one criticism I would have is that there needs to be more research done with their clients prior to a change of practice to ensure it is “fit”, as opposed to the trial and error approach.
The other point that I have discussed with Georgina in between issues of Adviser Evolution has been the aspect of direct regulation. On the first hand, it looks to be a very attractive proposition but I think you have to bear in mind that the capital adequacy position will change dramatically over the next few years and although this paper has now been put off again, certainly for another year or so, it is quite clear that change will come.
That change may not be completely under the control of the UK and may have a substantial EU influence. It is therefore important that you factor in some worst case scenarios into any business plan to determine whether or not direct regulation would remain the best place to be today and for several years to come.
My final comment is about people gravitating to the people pages of their website first. I think this reflects what a lot of clients’ desire. They don’t necessarily want to depend on the availability of an individual that they like for the rest of their financial life. What they like to see is the entire team.
I am a great believer in the team process and the fact that everyone is empowered to do as much as they can.
Having group photographs and having everyone photographed on the firm’s site – as Plutus does – is one way to enable that connection with the client.
Not all members of staff want to be photographed and then be featured on the site although you have to take into It is important that you factor in some worst- case scenarios into any business plan to determine whether or not direct regulation would remain the best place to be today and for several years to comeaccount that it remains important that clients feel the touch from the firm from a variety of different individuals to make them more comfortable and to enable them to realise that if one person is absent, the service will not go with them.
All in all, I think Plutus is making good strides forward and, a bit like Kevin Cannon in the previous issue, here we have a firm which has truly taken the RDR by the horns and is determined to use it as leverage to move forward and does not see it as a slippery slope that damages its business. The more firms that take this approach, the more will survive.
The most important commodity that we have in the run-up to RDR is time. Once it is wasted, it cannot be recreated and the regulator does not seem to be inclined to give any extensions. I would therefore suggest that the quicker you put your plans in place the better things will be for you long term.