What It Means To Be A Financial Planner Is Changing

Abrupt Endings Are Problematic. Future-proof Your Business Model.


Historically, synonyms considered for planner have been adviser, advisor, consultant, intermediary, distributor, manager, analyst, and counsellor. The underlying nature of each role descriptor is not the same. Subcategories within categories are not the same.


For example, an investment adviser and a regulated investment adviser are different. The former gives general advice on investments, whereas the latter gives helpful advice on particular regulated investments whilst considering the investor's specific circumstances.


Word forms matter.


We expect that regulated financial advisers will have a job in the future.  What it means to be a regulated financial adviser will change, as they shift roles and undergo transition impacting on their life narrative and the choices they make. If roles and tasks they perform are less valuable, they are likely to be paid less.


The more tech assists them, the less they'll earn. If the tech upgrades their skills - they become the controllers of highly sophisticated tech - the more they earn.


Abrupt endings are problematic. If you make the switch it would make sense to make it earlier rather than later. To benefit the most. Invest in qualifications or experience. You need to gain insight now on where decisions today might lead.


Old School Financial Planner

Maybe, increasing regulatory burdens and circumstances are forcing you to consider selling out your much-loved boutique financial advice practice to a larger firm or consolidator.


Perhaps, your professional indemnity insurance premiums have gone through the roof with major exclusions applied, restricting permissions, and on top of compensation scheme levies and compliance network fees, you seem to be paying everyone else and never yourself.


Potentially, you are becoming increasingly irritated by the decisions of your compliance advisers limiting your recommendations, it seems like you can no longer speak your truth, put the client first and must cover your back all the time instead.


Possibly, you can end up carrying massive potential risks arising from past sales and retrospective ombudsman perspectives, carrying liabilities to your grave.


Maybe, you are losing clients to low-cost robo-advisers. The more tech assists you, the less you earn.

New Financial Planner

Imagine this. You carry on doing what you love, owning your own business, with a happy consolidator writing you a big fat cheque for your intermediating book. And, your new service is advice-only and non-competing, so you don't have no-contact clauses to worry about.


Picture this. You're kept abrest of regulatory developments and provided with clear guidance and quality solutions. Professional indemnity insurance premium for less than a tank of gas. No compensation scheme levy, no massive compliance network fees.


Here, there's no massive regulatory compliance red tape, as there are no intermediary obligations impacting your chosen line of business.


What if you were supported to deliver great client outcomes, adding huge value to your customers, AND you still do proper financial planning without liabilities for stuff that goes wrong as a result of other people's mistakes.


Here, tech upgrades your skills. You become the controller of highly sophisticated tech. You earn more.

Designed To Add Value To Your Client Proposition


If burdened, penalised, and irritated is where you are and highly-valued, hassle-free, and wider margins is where you want to be, then I'm sure you would agree, you need a system, vehicle, or solution to get you from A to B.


Well, that is what this is ... Advice-only Financial Planning.


We are here to show you a new way of working. Separate advice from the product. Place a wall between them. Focus on advice through advice-only financial planning. Leave the product side of it to the low-cost robo-advisers and your client.


You become advice-only and therefore non-regulated.


The cost of regulation disappears. You charge the clients fixed fees. You add value for them just as you did before. But, cutting out compliance cuts out at least half of your overheads. Your profit margins rise. You act as a fiduciary adviser, placing the client's best interest first. No muddying of relationships with commissions. 


Here is the thing ...


When you cut out regulation, you cut out verification of identity, signing of documents, and handling of client money. This means you can run your business online, from your own home with no wet signatures to collect. Delivering great service to clients wherever they live.


Your business crosses borders and moves online.


You can also pass on efficiencies from economies of infrastructure and scale to your clients. This makes advice-only financial planning lower cost to the consumer, whilst adding just as much value for them and maintaining your profit margins. It is what we call a perfect win-win scenario.


It is the unprecedented solution for unprecedented times:







We offer you: Templates, Case Reviews, Research, Technical Support, Compliance Support, Business Development Solutions, Online Events and Training, Technological and Back-End Solutions, Professional Indemnity insurance deals, and much more.






Shouldn't Financial Planners Also Be Regulated?


If you have lived through the last five decades of financial services as we have done, you would have seen that in every financial scandal that has happened - endowment misseling, pension misselling, bond misselling, etc - that it is the intermediary that carries the legal responsibility for what goes wrong.


It's never the product provider, nor is it ever the client. It is the adviser who makes the product recommendation that is to blame. It is he or she that carries the liability for the mistakes of themselves, or others, and carries the burden to the grave.


When things go wrong it is the intermediary who is called upon to pay compensation, as many a bankrupted adviser can tell you.


The Government's response to this problem has been to increasingly regulate, to eliminate the bad actors.


The problem has always been in the intermediation. The distribution of regulated products.


Financial planning is outside of the perimeter of the regulations in most markets because it does not involve the distribution of regulated products.


There has never been a financial planning scandal. There has never been a perceived risk of consumer detriment as a result of financial planning. On the contrary, an advice-only financial planner can act as a personal regulator for the client. A wholly impartial, expert, independent witness - on the client's side. To level the playing field of information asymmetry.


That's why financial planning is not a regulated activity.


Why Is The Shift To Advice-only Financial Planning Important?


The advice-only financial planning business is an important consideration because ...

  • For the sake of your own sanity, you need to carry on doing what you enjoy and are good at.
  • Your operational model needs to be remote, the new 'normal' for relationship management.
  • Your new business needs to 'wash its face', and by that, I mean it has to work commercially.
  • You need to wash your hands of potential distribution liability so you and your family can sleep at night.
  • Your business needs to be scalable if the market is to serve the unmet needs of society.
  • Your clients need Your Money or Your Life planning in this global Your Money or Your Life emergency!


Why Now?


Because we are near the end of the small advice firm in the face of rising intermediating regulatory costs & burdens ... the regulator wants shot of small advice firms ... this has changed the face of financial planning as we know it, forever!


Your life's work will be very different from now on!


The cost-value perspective


When financial planning for consumers, the greatest value-added is in the personal services you provide ... it is in the provision of the financial plan itself, rather than adding value through financial intermediation. This is because financial intermediation has become commoditised.


As Christopher Woolard, interim 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 payout. But at what cost? And, do those recommendations add any value? Or could general advice and financial education suffice?


We agree that expert advice provided by professionals delivers real value in improving people’s finances. But that value is not added by the 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 advice-only financial planning.


Why pay for someone to choose wealth managers? 


Research by the Pensions Institute, based at Cass Business School in London, shows that just one in a hundred fund managers is able to beat the market consistently. It also concludes that even if you're lucky enough to have identified those 1% of managers in advance, you'll end up paying back any value they add in charges.


In December 2020, platform provider AJ Bell published that the most popular funds recommended by regulated advisers are the Vanguard LifeStrategy range. These "readily understood, 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, that's 3% initial fee plus 1.25% ongoing fee multiplied by the remaining investment years! Over 20 years, 28% cost savings. 30 years, 40%. 40 years, 53%. The savings over a whole lifetime can be staggering.



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