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Plan of action

Recent surveys suggest IFAs are becoming apathetic about the RDR. As attentions over the last few months have been drawn elsewhere, given October’s extraordinary events, it wouldn’t surprise me if most advisers have done little besides watch with amazement as history unfolded. If this proves one thing, it is that the FSA was mistaken in taking the financial planner category out of the review paper.

IFP recognises the strain the financial crisis is placing on the well-being of consumers. It also notes many advisers are under similar strains having perhaps never experienced a recession before. At times like these, with extreme market volatility, taking a long-term view can be difficult. Whether close to retirement or facing retirement several years’ time, many consumers now fear for their financial security.

While IFP cannot predict the outcome of current turmoil, now more than ever, we are committed to the value of financial planning.

Following the financial planning process and working with a planner long-term to achieve revised goals and objectives is now a must for many consumers who have perhaps done their own financial planning to date. Surveys now show that not only do consumers value advice, but that those who are receiving comprehensive financial planning are more confident about their futures.

CFP professionals have demonstrated competency through their advanced qualifications and are bound by a code of ethics and practice standards that insists they put the interests of the client first.

The outcome from the RDR will have little effect on these individuals or the businesses they work for because the investment in personal and business development has already been made. Custom for many financial planning firms is positive and members are seeing large numbers of referrals as DIY planners, feeling exposed, seek solace.

As always, the IFP is looking at what support advisers need to help them move from reliance on transaction and commission to a focus on the client and the financial planning proposition.

Transaction models are particularly exposed to current market conditions as it is difficult to sell anything other than a proposition that clearly has the client’s interests at the centre of the relationship.

As such, it has teamed up with Brett Davidson of FP Advance to run two one-day conferences – November 26 in London and December 9 in Manchester – offering advisers specific tools to make an immediate impact on their businesses.

The conferences will take account of the RDR changes because the FSA will also be involved in the event. For further details and to register ring the IFP or visit www.financial planning.org.ukHaving spent October at a number of financial planning conferences and strategy meetings, it has been fascinating to observe the activities of planners around the world. The common thread is the solace and benefits that CFP professionals find in discussing how they deal with common issues. The IFP runs days for CFPs with flexibility built into the agenda to allow for discussion of key issues in round- table sessions.

In a changing world, the professional bodies need to continue to listen to members so that the ultimate goal of better serving the consumer can be achieved.

Nick Cann is chief executive at the Institute of Financial Planning

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