I have been very fortunate to have recently spoken at conferences in Mexico and Athens but it is not what I said that is important, it is what I learned.
The Mexico speech was to 1,300 agents of an insurance company and Athens was the host city for the first-ever Million Dollar Round Table European conference.
In both cases, it was clear that the UK was ahead of much of the world in terms of market sophistication. But does being ahead make us better? Not necessarily. What also became very clear was that UK advisers are busier worrying about their future and having to cope with misguided, agenda-driven, over-regulation than they are on learning new skills to motivate both themselves and their clients into taking positive action.
We have so many distractions such as the RDR, qualifications (and now gap-filling), outrageous FSCS levies and a regulator that really does not understand the impact of its theoretical decisions being applied in the real world. We cope with all this while advisers elsewhere around the world enjoy learning new skills to enhance their client relationship and offer them a genuinely useful experience.
Instead, we have to seek ways to charge our clients more just to maintain profitability due to the extra costs we face. So much for the FSA’s purported desire to benefit customers.
At neither of those conferences was there any hint of negativity. Instead, particularly at the MDRT event, there was a sense of pride in our profess-ion, a feeling that we make a massive positive contribution to the lives of our clients. I also feel that way despite the FSA’s best attempts to treat us all as ignorant scoundrels.
This positive feeling also pervaded the recent UK MDRT Day, attended by around 200 like-minded advisers. The speakers were upbeat in sharing their skills and knowledge, helping others to grow, amid the abundant camaraderie of MDRT members. Instead of complaining about our woes, the atmosphere was one of looking for opportunities to imp-rove our clients’ proposition.
I am also honoured to be sharing my enthusiasm at the MDRT annual meeting in Atlanta in June, where I will be speaking, and two fellow Brits, Ian Green and Mark Hynes, will also be addressing the meeting. This annual gathering attracts around 7,500 of the world’s very best advisers.
For those sceptics who think otherwise, let me reiterate that the MDRT annual meeting is not a ra-ra sales conference but is recognised as the world’s lead-ing finance conference.
Many of the UK’s very best advisers have been going for over ten years and attribute their success to the MDRT.
Bhupinder Anand is managing director of Anand Associates