The written word is an effective and timeless tool, but also at times a very dangerous one.
The adviser market is an ever sensitive place, a word out of context can cause an upsurge of negative emotion. At times there is gross over-reaction.
Recent months have seen insurers communicating their RDR positioning and sometimes the delivery is not smooth as silk. Take Standard Life for example, a recent communication on adviser charging not only raised an eyebrow but immediately unearthed the insecurities felt by some advisers.
In my view it was not the best scripted communication as it missed out describing the treatment of legacy commissions. But it did raise some important issues that also drew positive feedback too.
So, the message to my fellow advisers is this. Be very careful in being over critical of insurers in particular at this time. They have historically offered a powerful string to your bow and no doubt will continue to do so.
There are huge complexities within UK insurance companies, layers that make them look like a Millefeuille at times.
In that delectable cholesterol enhancing context, they will continue to deliver. But we must expect it will be in different ways. On a macro scale they have to deliver returns to shareholders in the same way we as advisers seek to impress the family with the biggest turkey and posh Burgundy to evidence a good year at the office.
Whilst we are looking at so many different ways to engage with our clients, new and existing, don’t forget to draw together a plan of engagement that can actually make your life an awful lot easier.
At the life companies, expertise is abound and these people are here to serve us and enable prosperity for our very own businesses. A recent meeting with a seemingly mis-understood insurer made me understand a lot more about their aims and objectives, their people and their processes.
It pays to talk, not to berate without knowing enough. Of course, I expect to be torn to the bone on this blog, but “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, because people make success and positive behaviours lead to excellent outcomes, negative behaviours, you know the rest………..
Trevor Whiting is partner at Core Financial LLP