We see financial planning in transition. In the past, there was the regulated financial intermediary who sold products and offered financial planning. Moving forward, there is the
'Non-intermediating' Financial Planner.
We specialise in supporting Non-Intermediating Financial Planners, as a stand-alone service in a regulated firm separate from regulated advice, or as a separate non-regulated business.
We take a real hands-on interest in your business, where you will feel part of a team. We help planners grow their businesses compliantly, professionally and profitably. We instil confidence in
We offer the job lot. Our range of services include the sharing of a license-free blueprint, compliance advice, marketing support, general guidance, business documentation, proven processes,
wealth technology, mentoring, coaching, training, webinars, helpdesk support, events, and much more.
We Move With The Times, To Keep You Resilient and Future-Ready
The journey from an intermediating financial adviser to a non-intermediating financial planner is often more challenging and time-consuming than people think. We help you save time and money. For
those who successfully complete the journey, the rewards for firm and clients are immense.
The Academy of Life Planning adviser support network will give you the blueprint, tools, and practical help to shorten your journey as you transition to non-intermediating financial planner. We
believe we are the world's first network to offer to support you in setting up and growing a successful non-intermediating financial planning firm.
We deliver online support and personalised solutions to a global network of online non-intermediating financial planners and their firms. With a focus on non-intermediating financial planning, our
members are typically small life and financial planning firms around the world, servicing a global tribe of satisfied clients online.
Our virtual support team and financial planning members are knowledgeable, friendly, and there to help. They are extremely helpful in all areas and have the appropriate knowledge, experience, and
qualifications relevant to their roles and the areas on which they may be assisting you.
How We Do It - We Communicate Regularly
If buying personalised support works well for you, our specialised support is award-winning and second to none. We keep up to date with current regulations. We provide impartial views and
commercial recommendations. We are very approachable if ever you have any concerns. We deal with things efficiently and quickly.
Our core service brings together the best in online personalised support. This level of support is designed to:
- Provide face-to-face, via Zoom, one-to-one, tailored mentorship support - for the same price as a typical automated one-to-many training programme. Discuss matters in private. Receive 100% of our
attention. Build a Unique Branded System.
- Provide an 'out-of-the-box' non-intermediating financial planning business framework for you to adapt, use and share. You need this because disruptor business models are completely
different to what's already there.
- Provide you with a compliant, tried, and tested planning process suitable for holistic non-intermediating financial planning, with utmost professionalism and efficiency. Using the whole-person
paradigm, to satisfy the four basic needs of your clients: to live, to learn, to love, and to leave a lasting legacy.
- Keep you informed of relevant issues – saving you time searching for and reading articles, regulatory reports and surveys.
- Provide you with up to date guidance and specimen procedural documents – saving you time in creating documents from scratch.
- Provide you with someone to email for those difficult day to day issues – giving you reassurance that you are adopting the correct approach. You can always email us, as often as you like, and a
suitably qualified person will reply at no extra cost.
- Provide you with a comprehensive development programme for you and your staff. Whilst we encourage you to develop your skills through quality additional thitd-party training courses available in
the market, everything you need can be found right here within our programmes. This saves you money.
- UNIQUELY: We are particularly helpful with your step-by-step transition from financial intermediary to non-intermediating financial planner.
Book your one-hour consultation to find out more.
We expect that there will come a point in your career as a professional financial planner where you ditch the product intermediation
The cost-value perspective
When financial planning for consumers, the greatest value added is in the services you provide ... it is in the provision of the financial plan itself, rather than adding value through financial
intermediation. This is because investment returns have become commoditised.
As Christopher Woolard, CEO at the UK's Financial Conduct Authority said in September 2020:
"The overwhelming majority of retail investors are best served by readily understood, well-diversified and low-cost investments which are already available from a range of providers, but
many retail investors don’t choose these."
Some might argue that financial intermediation may lead to better outcomes for consumers. It is certainly more convenient to have someone make investment decisions for you. And of value to insure
those decisions, provided the advice firm remains in business and insurers are willing to pay out. But at what cost? And, do those recommendations made add any value?
We agree that expert advice provided by professionals delivers real value in improving people’s finances. But that value is not added by timing of markets or fund selection. Really. When it comes
down to it. There probably isn't anything of significant value that a financial intermediary can do, that a financial planner can't do! The extra work an intermediary does to justify fees is actually
non-intermediating financial planning.
Why pay for someone to choose wealth managers? The evidence overwhelmingly shows that only around 1% of wealth managers beat the market, over the long term, net of costs. Furthermore, those very
few wealth managers that do outperform are almost impossible to identify in advance.
In December 2020, platform provider AJ Bell published that the most popular funds recommended by regulated advisers are the Vanguard LifeStrategy range. These "readily undestood,
well-diversified and low-cost investments" are available to the public direct from Vanguard. By going direct, platform charges and adviser charges are avoided. Typically, saving you an initial
fee of 3% and an ongoing fee of 1.25%. To calculate the costs saved over a lifetime, 3% + 1.25% x remaining years!
Transition from product sellers to professional advisers
Financial planning used to be product advice. Financial planning of today is more than just products, and not only includes financial solutions that manage wealth, but includes strategies for
making assets in the first place. Such as, a three-year business plan. Solutions that manage wealth are only of value to the wealthy. What everyone else needs are plans to create wealth. We show you
how to financially plan wealth creation.
Good financial planning also includes goals that money can’t buy such as respect, well-adjusted kids, work-life balance, life purpose, good friends, close-knit family, good health, peace of mind,
happy memories, true love, a happy home, good karma, time to relax, a good epitaph. The list goes on. We show you how to financially plan in the whole-person paradigm to unleash human potential.
Wealth products take wealth away and return it in the future. If you take wealth away from the unwealthy you often make matters worse. Improving the short-term financial situation for the client
will automatically improve the long-term outlook.
And, with a little knowledge of business planning - and adjusting the 'what if' scenarios in the cash flow forecast - we can ensure the client discovers financial freedom earlier and doesn't
outlive their capital ... by creating recurring income on the assets we create. The fact is, products don't create wealth. People do!
Since, the modern financial planner is seldom required to recommend a long-term investment product to make good shortfalls, they might instead choose an easier and, with care, a more profitable
career down the non-intermediating route.
Conflicted payments and client best interest
According to Which? 90% of financial intermediaries derive their fees from the product as a percentage of assets under advice. The more assets they advise on, the more they get paid.
How impartial can advice be relating to what the adviser manages, and what they don't manage?
What about assets such as those you run direct on self-invested platforms, your property, your business, your workplace pension, or that other managers run for you? How can a financial
intermediary advise on these assets and get paid?
"Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” As Charlie Munger said, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett.
The savings available for the consumer from saved intermediary charges over a lifetime can be many hundreds-of-thousands-of-pounds.
Regulators around the world continue to challenge the conflicted payments of asset-based fee advisers.
Fee for service and fiduciary financial planners
If you always wish to act in the best interest of your clients without conflict of interest, then you might consider becoming a fee-for-service, or fiduciary, financial planner. That is, you are
fee-only, regardless of where the asset sits, and there is no conflict of interest.
A non-intermediating financial planner is a fee-only, fiduciary, financial planner. That is, they act as an agent of the client and do not hold any agency agreements whatsoever with any product
providers. They are guaranteed by client contract to place client best interest first, without muddying the relationship with conflicted payments.
Financial intermediaries are selling agents for the firms they hold agencies with and find it difficult to sign up to fiduciary codes because, in the absence of a wall between advice and product,
they find it difficult to undertake to always act in the client's best interests. Regulators around the world are consulting on a Consumer Duty that would set clearer and higher expectations for
firms’ standards of care towards consumers. Until these are implemented such standards do not exist.
The non-intermediating financial planner on the other hand is the client's personal financial regulator.
Costs of regulation
Financial planning itself is not a regulated activity in all major markets globally. It is classed as general or generic advice, where it is not delivered in preparation for a regulated activity.
A financial intermediary may deliver financial planning in preparation for financial intermediation, and in the UK is required to be registered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
A non-intermediating financial planner is not.
When planners realise that the greatest value is added by the non-regulated activity, they may begin to question the rationale for, and additional cost of, being regulated.
Life has been increasingly difficult and less profitable for the financial intermediary; because of increasing regulation, its associated cost, levies paid to the lifeboat fund, and a hardening of
the professional indemnity insurance market; forcing the market to contract as many regulated advisers quit.
Also, there is a consolidation of planning firms to larger asset raking firms seeking simply to tap into client assets for fees to bolster shareholder valuations. Those advisers with vision,
passion, conscience, and discipline to set up a future-ready business of their own are choosing the non-intermediating financial planning route.
Regulated activity adds considerably to the time and cost of the financial planning process. It also makes it difficult to maintain client relationships remotely, with all the proof of identity,
signing of documentation and agency agreements, and trust measures required to handle client money. It is difficult to apply social distancing measures when you are regulated and seeking wet
signatures. Regulated activity is also set on channeling client assets into profit and power seeking institutions.
Certain transactions can only be undertaken by a regulated financial intermediary, such as a pension transfer from a Defined Benefit scheme. Although advisers holding the relevant permissions are
becoming increasingly hard to find. Non-regulated financial planners may therefore need to refer consumers to regulated financial planners with the relevant permissions from time-to-time. And these
occassions are diminishing.
The advice gap and the underserved public
Today, ninety-five percent of the population are underserved by the financial intermediary population on account of their limited wealth.
Financial intermediaries often operate with thresholds of investable assets held by consumers, below which they will not operate. A typical threshold might be £100,000.
Due to being able to advise groups of people, non-intermediating financial planners can profitably serve the underserved at prices they can afford.
For more information
Non-intermediating financial planning is financial planning less the intermediation. If you are considering becoming a non-intermediating financial planner, please contact us to discuss our
membership, mentorship, and accreditation services.