I have been through something of a personal transformation since the start of this year. My New Year’s resolutions usually fizzle out by the end of January following a short burst of dedication and devotion. For some reason, this year was different.
I did want to be a little fitter but I have tried and failed to get into shape on several occasions before. Applying conventional wisdom to the challenge of dieting works for a bit until life gets in the way and old habits return. So what is needed is a dose of unconventional wisdom.
This unconventional wisdom came along in the form of the caveman diet. For the past four months, I have been eating anything I like, with the exception of grains and sugar. There has been no calorie counting and no “low-fat” ready meals.
There has been plenty of food such as fish, meat, vegetables and eggs. There has also been a bit of exercise, no more than 20 minutes three or four times a week. Until quite recently, conventional wisdom suggested you needed to exercise for an hour or more each time to get into top shape. More recent studies have found that high-intensity interval training is the way to go.
As a result of all this, I have lost 18 per cent of my body weight in the past 20 weeks. Last weekend, I ran six miles for the first time in my life. Unconventional wisdom works.
Just like this approach to weight loss and fitness, there is a danger that the IFA sector holds on to conventional wisdom without any real evidence it works.
It is time for a dose (or two) of unconventional wisdom. While there is no need to start with a blank page, we do need to let go of many of the old ways that have collectively failed us until now.
I accept it can be hard to let go of what has appeared to work in the past before embracing a new way of doing things. Not all advisers will be willing or able to make the sort of transition required to become professional advisers, selling advice rather than products to satisfy identified needs.
As we get ever closer to December 31 and the majority of advisers who plan to continue have satisfied the qualification requirements, the real challenge of creating a modern IFA business where clients value the advice they are buying will start in earnest.
Whether this is truly possible in the six months or so that are left is debateable. What does seem quite clear is that conventional wisdom will not deliver a sustainable IFA business model in 2013 and beyond. Just trying selling investment bonds at 7 per cent “commission” next year when your client sees 7 per cent of their hard-earned cash immediately deducted from the product.
The IFA sector is about to be placed on a radical new diet, where most will emerge fitter and stronger and a few will not.
Martin Bamford is managing director of Informed Choice