Plenty of things have been winding me up this week. The ridiculous degree of complexity the lifetime and tapered annual allowances have introduced to the advice process, for example.
I have just spent half an hour writing a response to a client – a hospital consultant in his early 40s – to reassure him that the buzz among his fellow medics about ‘acting before April to preserve a better pension’ was not something that would apply in his case.
I have also been involved in a lengthy session of email ping-pong with another client to eventually agree we would cease his regular pension contributions this month to ensure he stays on the right side of the annual allowance in 2016/17.
Neither of those conversations would have been necessary in the simple days before greedy chancellors started dipping their paws into the pensions honey pot.
It would also be easy to bang on about the latest questionnaire landing in the office from our friends in Canary Wharf. It will mean more time-consuming data gathering and report writing about one specific aspect of our business to reassure the FCA that we and many other advice firms are advising our clients responsibly.
But rather than have a moan, I think it is important for advisers to occasionally stop for a moment and count our blessings – because I truly believe we are working in a great profession at a great time.
Boom times are back
Our business has never been busier and the hunger for our services never greater. Be it helping with auto-enrolment, creating IHT-efficient investment strategies or guiding clients through the maze of long-term care funding, opportunities abound.
We, like many other advice firms, are able to recommend more transfers away from historical defined benefit arrangements than we might have done in past years. Full inheritability of your fund by a spouse or family plus elevated transfer values have completely changed the dynamic in this area.
Where the circumstances are right, we are seeing some transfer values that are genuinely life transforming, opening up a host of opportunities for people in early retirement that would never have come their way otherwise.
But it is not only about bringing in new clients. I can think of two meetings in the past week alone where, thanks to advice that a colleague and I have given over the years, I have been in the happy position of exhorting the clients to go out and enjoy their wealth. The warmth and friendship of these relationships are deeply rewarding, as I am sure many of you will recognise.
Last week I attended the latest edition of Invesco Perpetual’s excellent Investment Intelligence briefings. I sat down next to an adviser who I had not met before and we chatted over our cups of coffee. He too was full of positivity, enthusing about the ideas he had to move his firm to the next level.
So let’s keep cheerful. Yes, there will be hard work and some road bumps along the way. But the rewards – both personal and financial – are more than worth it.
Stephen Womack is a chartered financial planner and a director at David Williams IFA