We are now into the second six months of the RDR and so far we have seen mixed reports about whether people are leaving, or joining, the industry.
Earlier this year figures suggested 10 to 25 per cent of advisers had left the industry but at the PFS regional conference earlier this summer we were told adviser numbers had actually increased and recent figures from the FCA said adviser numbers are up by 6 per cent since the start of the year.
We were also reminded at the PFS conference to unite and talk up the profession rather than talking us all down. With this in mind, and with the RDR now firmly in place, I thought this was an opportune time to remind us all why we are hard working professional advisers rather than the insurance company salesmen that the mainstream media often portray us as.
I was lucky enough to join our industry – or should that now be profession in 1997 when I became Rowley Turton’s first employee, a trainee independent financial adviser.
When I went for my initial interview at Rowley Turton I had never heard of an IFA but at that interview the managing director Alan Turton explained what an IFA did and how they helped people. I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do.
For me it’s about the good that financial planners do. Dan Sullivan, in his book “The Good That Financial Advisors Do” sums it up best for me, with his statement that: “Being a financial advisor to upwardly mobile individuals in the 21st century is one of the most important roles in our society.”
IFAs don’t simply arrange mortgages – we help people buy their own homes. We do not only advise on pensions and investments – we help people fund their own retirement or pay school fees. With the closure of final salary pensions and pressure on the state pension this is even more important.
We do not just sell life assurance, critical illness cover or income protection – we help people protect themselves and their families if the worst happens and ensure that they are not left to the mercy of the welfare state.
We do not simply help with tax planning – we help people keep more of their money and pass that money to children or grandchildren.
By helping clients be self sufficient, we do not just help them but also we reduce the tax burden on others by helping clients avoid relying on an under pressure state system – whether it be benefits, healthcare or schools. Generally our clients are more likely than not paying for these things themselves.
It is also important to me that financial planning is not about selling someone a financial product and moving on to the next prospect. It’s about building a long-term relationship based on mutual trust where you are caring for your client and their family for many years.
With all of the IFA bashing that we see in the mainstream media, it is easy to become disillusioned and I feel that reminding ourselves of the good we do is important from time to time.
In the current age of the internet, a vast amount of information is only a click away. Consequently with all the information at your fingertips the death of the financial adviser or financial planner is often raised.
Personally, I think the future has never looked brighter since clients are facing information overload and they need our knowledge, wisdom and sound judgement to deal with it.
Scott Gallacher is director at Rowley Turton