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Positive force for change

During casual conversation, I was nominated as a disruptive force by three IFAs at the Personal Finance Society conference. I have thought about that long and hard for the past 48 hours. The reason for the nomenclature? I am opposed to the retail distribution review. I believe it is disruptive and that is why I am opposed to it.

I do the things I do because I feel they are for the common good. They certainly do not do me any good personally. I have a great passion for my profession, the insurance industry generally and, more important than all that, my colleagues, many of whom have now gone out of business unnecessarily because of things like the RDR – the pension review, the endowment review, polarisation, depolarisation. Need I go on?

If I am classified as disruptive because I highlight the facile and total waste of time that a further review will be, other than of course to employ a lot of people in a Government quango that has cost millions and lost billions, then I stand guilty as charged.
Surely somebody has to stand up for all those good quality advisers who did a damn good job, making it possible for our profession to claim responsibility for the life insurance industry paying out over £3m every hour of every day and for the private pension industry paying out more in pension benefits than the Government does?

If that is failure, if that is the result of a “broken” profession, if that is a poor model to follow, then I would like to know what success is.

Over my 37 years in the industry, I have met some of the best salespeople in the world. Here, in Britain. Dedicated individuals working with clients and for clients.

The industry has moved on and, surprise, surprise, most of us have moved on with it because we have been the drivers for that change. Salespeople drive change.

We did not invent exams for salespeople but we did refine them and make them more relevant. We did – the salespeople.

The RDR will do little but waste more time that should be spent on servicing client needs and reviewing financial mechanisms. The decisions have already been made and the Treasury’s desire to stop people saving will once more be achieved.

It is not the sales process that needs a review, it is the regulatory process because that has failed on all counts. I can demonstrate qualitative and quantitative evidence of that.

Neither the Chartered Insurance Institute nor the FSA are able to evidence their generalistic statements.

If that is disruption, I hope a few more people join me. We should all ask ourselves the question, if not me, who? If not now, when?

If disruption is asking for facts and avoiding waste, count me in.

Terence O’Halloran
Chartered financial planner, O’Halloran & Co,
Lincoln

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