Let me tell you about a colleague. We’ll call him Nigel. I wonder how many other financial advisers exhibit similar characteristics to him when it comes to the circulation of the trade press.
I can tell it is either a Monday or Thursday as the reverberating sound of free trade press publications still in their protective wrapping thudding into Nigel’s empty bin is guaranteed. How widespread such disdain is I do not know – but I do wonder. Full of know-it-alls or the usual FCA bashing, he says. And pictures of experts who really look like they need a bit of sun or a fitness regime.
Perhaps some publications could do with a page three or page seven fella to bring a healthy glow or prevent downright dullness but maybe a large part of the problem is that too many of the so-called experts spend too much time in print trying to be someone important rather than do something important.
We have been told for quite some time from business and marketing gurus to act the host or the expert in order to help us on our journey to success. But now there are so many people doing that it is hard to know what is real anymore. Things seem to have gone full circle such that it is the worthiness of what you actually do that determines how important you will be and how much attention you will get.
We never get to hear about colleagues’ actual problems or where things have not worked. We only get to hear about supposed triumphs, self-glorification or how we should be doing things, regardless of whether it is practically viable or not. Everything seems to be “great” or “fantastic” when you ask people how they are.
In reality, it can be pretty tough going and, by the time we finish with what is under the bonnet of someone’s needs, we end up going home no cleaner than a greased up car mechanic. The real work is getting on with it, seeing clients and getting the business done in the most efficient manner possible within a fast changing legislative and regulatory environment. And yet the self-appointed gurus are desperately trying to distract us, says Nigel.
I think our friend Nigel is now over wary of being sold down a path of increasing bias exhibited by fund managers trying to boost sales regardless of appropriateness. Wary too of business consultants wanting you to do it their way or having to wade through paragraphs of carefully constructed words to prevent saying something is rubbish because of the litigious world we now live in. Things have become too fluffy, accommodating and without meaning.
But Nigel is missing out because among the forest of paper is some technical brilliance from the handful of leading journalists and established technicians in the industry. Their insightful contributions no doubt make it easier to keep up to speed with the things we should be saying and doing when advising our increasingly sophisticated target client.
Mel Kenny is a chartered financial planner at Radcliffe & Newlands