Recently I have written many articles about the things that firms need to be addressing now to stand any chance of being RDR ready, whilst taking into account other areas of good business practice. That’s what all this should be about after all.
Although advisers are generally making decent progress with this, I wanted to supplement that with some further suggestions of other things to consider in planning for a post RDR world.
Independent Vs Restricted Advice – Various research indicates that most IFAs today will remain independent come 2013. However depending on your ever-developing business model, more IFAs may gradually migrate to a restricted advice regime. Review the options with the requirements and choose what’s best for your clients and business. Some may find the requirements too challenging whilst for other practices it will be a perfect fit.
Charging VAT – Without wanting to open up a can of worms, we know VAT has applied to financial services for years now. You may wish to unbundle your services and charge for difference stages, most of your revenue may be exempt and VAT may not be an issue for small practices, however seek advice from experts mindful that some aspects connected with VAT still need absolutely crucial clarification. You don’t want to mess with the VAT man.
Structured CPD – From 2013, 21 hours a year of your CPD has to be structured, ideally on a rolling month-to-month basis. Identify your individual development/learning needs, find the best method to deliver that learning need, demonstrate it has been filled and your technical knowledge has been enhanced. Document your CPD activity online if possible. You’ll need to demonstrate this to your Accredited Body in the most streamlined way.
Qualifications – Many are doing this now, but whilst in ‘study mode’, consider continuing with your pursuit of further advanced qualifications towards Chartered Financial Planner or Certified Financial Planner status, as long as this investment brings financial benefits back to your business and you will market this achievement effectively. It has to, or you’re missing a great opportunity. Although not a qualification as such, the ISO 22222 certification is internationally recognised and again, should bring tangible advantages in differentiating your practice from the masses.
Capital Adequacy Requirements– Due to be phased in from 2013 and by 2015, firms will need to be planning to increase their current liquid asset holding to either £20k or three months fixed expenditure. Multi RI practices in particular may be reviewing their employed to self employed adviser ratio.
Exit Strategy – ‘Begin with the end in mind’ – it’s never too early to be planning your exit. Whenever this may be, you may not be able to influence external factors, but you can put things in place that will mean whenever you sell, you can maximise the value of your business at that time. If you wanted to buy an ideal practice and money was out of the equation, what would it look like? Shape yours around that vision.
So with a New Year upon us and resolutions still fresh in our minds why not continue developing your business above and beyond the requirements of the RDR.
Lee Travis head of New Model Business Academy