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PFS conference: Businesses relying on assets under management to take huge hit

Torrential rain, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures couldn’t keep the delegates from gathering at the Personal Finance Society’s annual conference in Birmingham this morning.

Out-going president Rob Reid warned delegates that advisers needed to be ready to deal with stormy seas, suggesting that businesses who rely solely on assets under management could be hit by losses of 30-40 per cent this year.

Reid told delegates in such a situation that they needed to diversify their businesses to ensure they survived the storm.

He said: “Don’t just focus on assets under management. It’s about extending asset allocation principles to the rest of your business. Have a succession plan in place and remember that planning is for your business too, not just your clients.”

We were then treated to a talk from Andrew Dilnot, former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who encouraged us not to be bamboozled by statistics spouted by actuaries, financial marketers and investment managers.

Delegates who attended the session from the FSA on TCF visits would have been cheered by the news that the FSA views these visits as a discussion, rather than an interrogation.

The upcoming FSA visits around the regulator’s TCF deadline have raised concern among some advisers worried about how their businesses will be evaluated. But FSA director of small firms Lesley Titcomb was quick to reassure us that assessors are expected to be “firm but fair”.

No doubt that tonight’s gala dinner will slow the pace of day two tomorrow, but those who make it back will have the pleasure of attending the AGM and see Paul Lothian take over the presidency from fellow Scotsman Reid.

We’ve heard Paul has grand plans for the next 12 months – all will be revealed in this week’s Money Marketing.

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