The news that Glasgow Rangers were allegedly close to going into administration made me reflect on what it has been like be to be a Partick Thistle supporter, a club who found themselves in a similar position to Rangers some years ago.
Irrespective of all of the talk re the Old Firm (Rangers and Celtic) playing in the English Premiership, the reality has finally hit home. In some ways, that level of reality needs to find its mark in the IFA sector, if I hear another cry of “it’s not fair” I will scream. If the moaners spent as much time on studying as they do whinging they would be well on the road to getting their diploma. This idea that someone with experience – I heard recently this was two years plus (give me a break!) -would do one exam and a bit of continuing professional development and they would be done, or rather the consumer would be.
The really mad bit is that it is J08 they have opted for. This exam is designed to allow advisers to demonstrate their financial planning capabilities and, importantly, it relies on previous study and tests the practical application of technical knowledge and planning skills already gained.
Now bear in mind that many advisers have never seen, let alone produced, a financial plan themselves from scratch. For many, drafting or at least picking paragraphs for the suitability letter is the extent to which their written advice is regularly used.
I wonder if those lobbying have actually consulted those concession-seekers or if they are hoping to “sell” this deal if it is ever granted.
One network chief told me once that I did not understand just how busy these people were, yadda, yadda I was almost left dumb for words. When I rounded on him, I kicked off by detailing my own timetable en route to chartered while building businesses and serving on the Society of Financial Advisers and Personal Finance Society board. The reality is that far too many people sat back after getting the FPC and had up to 14 years off while the rest of us kept going.
The idea that others should get an easier route sticks in my throat and I can only hope the regulator holds it nerve. Indeed were it to offer up guided advice with exams to level three, I suspect the banks would be happy and the lobbying would stop. Aifa claimed the rules were being reset, I suspect the regulator was looking for a sensible and reasoned submission and it got neither.
If we put the RDR to one side, business models need to change and soon. If people really want to build value in businesses, then the old IFA model needs to be parked. There is simply marginal value in picking products, most advisers are incompetent in selecting investments.
dvisers need to map the client experience and ask themselves, would I buy this, and if yes, what would I pay. Wasting time moaning and groaning does advisers no credit. As to the idea that we go back to control titles, this is naïve. The fans of this control had their chance but were complacent, their time slot has gone.
In closing, Celtic fans should not be confident that a similar problem could not occur at Parkhead and any football fans should brace them- selves as Rangers are only the beginning.
My team Thistle continues to make headway within its budgets and may never hit the heights unless so many fail in the higher division that we end up there by default and not by debt.
Rob Reid is managing director of Syndaxi Financial Planners.