Financial services businesses start by gathering the views and opinions of other industry people, then move on to customer-focus groups. Finally, employees meet to discuss the findings.It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we try to find the opportunities which sit behind problems, we never truly fulfil the potential that addressing problems should provide. The clue to where we all go wrong lies in the words of Albert Einstein: “Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework in which they were created”, nowadays people call that thinking outside of the box. Most people’s brains are just too experienced in approaching problems in a particular way and so every problem they confront is addressed in the same way. This is not just a problem with our industry, many industries which involve manufacturing and distribution struggle with the same mindset which in turn leads to less differentiation, increasing commoditisation where scale becomes the only real means retailers and manufacturers are left with to unlock profits. If we break this downward spiral into commoditisation we need a different approach to finding our opportunities, to discover uniqueness and differentiation. The practical implications of Albert’s advice would be to take our problems, consider them in an entirely different context, take the fresh insights we develop through this process and use them as a platform with which to deal with our own problems. So what of the problem of advice, its quality, appro-priateness or lack of it, much discussed in the press and at the heart of past and present regulatory reviews. The problem we have, outside of highly monitored, scripted call centres, is that such control and consistency is not available to many traditional sales managers which we know leads to advisers making less sales, less appropriate sales and from there onto compliance issues in the future. To address the problem let’s take a lateral step into another market which has some parallels with financial advice but is removed from our own industry to have evolved differently, tailoring. In the past men would walk into a tailor, examine the cloth available and the price per yard and have the tailor, make a suit for them. Today, we have a mass market for suits. Companies make them in all shapes and sizes, customers try on a number of suits in their price range, preferred colours and styles until they find one that fits well enough. In the future we will all walk semi-naked into a body scanner, our contours will be mapped allowing us to buy clothes which fit perfectly and shop almost anytime for the brands, styles and colours we are looking for within our budgets. Now I am not going to tell you how this context or perspective has helped my firm attain a fresh and unique insight in the tools we can develop for advisers, for that you will just have to watch this space, in the meantime don’t just take my advice – take Albert’s.
West Bromwich Building Society paid 6.8m to buy the broker franchise Mortgage Force in March. The building society’s annual report and accounts confirm an up-front cash sum of 6m while the 0.8m was a deferred purchase consideration. Mortgage Force’s last results before the acquisition showed a profit of 121,000 for the year ended March 31, […]
Aifa will lobby for an extension of mandatory electronic reporting deadlines if it finds evidence that technical problems on the FSA’s website have impeded advisers from filing on time. Aifa director general Chris Cummings says it told the regulator several weeks ago that the date on the forms has to be input using the American […]
IFA Buckles Investment Services is planning to add a property fund to its Snowdonia fund-of-funds range in October.
The Sipp property purchase market could be worth 10bn after A-day and provide a 5 per cent boost to the housing market, according to new research from Hargreaves Lansdown. The research, which surveyed 614 members of the public and 180 Hargreaves Landsown Sipp investors, shows that 37 per cent of the current 140,000 Sipp investors […]
Back in May, Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, was involved in a Corporate Adviser magazine roundtable on the subject of pensions.
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FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey has used a speech at The Investment Association’s annual dinner to explain the regulator’s plans to make sure fees result in “sensible incentives” for fund managers. The regulator has put value for money in the spotlight with its Asset Management Market Study. The measures consulted on include getting more independent […]
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Neil Woodford has upped his stake in Provident Financial as shares in the consumer credit company double from their August lows. According to a regulatory filing published late yesterday, the star fund manager increased his stake from 19.1 per cent to 20.1 per cent. Provident shares jumped 12 per cent on Friday morning when the […]