Jumping through RDR hoops will help fix IFA reputation
RDR may not be a perfect solution, but you will achieve nothing by denying there is a problem in the first place.
Sharper eyed readers may have spotted a slight change to this page. Janet Walford OBE has retired after more than 30 years on Money Management, 25 of those as editor.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that Janet did a fantastic job and turned the title into what it is today. She was rightly awarded an OBE for her services to journalism and financial services and I know she will be missed by many of you.
However, I’m equally sure that many of you are not remotely bothered.
You couldn’t care less who I am or whose face adorns this page. You buy the magazine, not the editor, and as long as whoever that is delivers what you need, you will be happy.
Rest assured, I will strive to ensure that Money Management continues to meet your needs in providing in-depth analysis of all that matters to your industry, occasionally providing a little light relief and always fighting your corner.
The majority of advisers don’t deserve the reputation with which you are collectively tarred - the RDR is designed to help demonstrate that to clients
In the immediate future, that will predominantly involve helping you prepare for – and make the most of – the RDR, the biggest challenge that the adviser market has faced since the introduction of regulation in 1986.
I know many advisers are sceptical. You’ve lived through depolarisation, the introduction of commission disclosure and countless other initiatives, all of which were supposed to bring a seismic shift in the advice landscape but none of which ultimately had any real impact on your day-to-day business.
Many of you that aren’t sceptical are lethargic. Being made to do something differently to how you are used to is always a difficult thing to embrace. I am convinced that the C-word – ‘change’ – is the scariest word in the English language.
Think about it. In the 1980s some scientist discovered a hole in the ozone layer. The resulting rise in world temperatures, melting icecaps and impending disaster was christened ‘global warming’, which sounds quite nice. As a result, nobody did much about it beyond making jokes about how “at least we’d have nicer summers”.
Something needed to be done to make people take the threat seriously so, when it came to rebranding the end of the world, the scientists called it ‘climate change’. Terrifying. Just by using the word ‘change’ they made people take the threat seriously.
I digress, quite apart from any change to working practices, there are other issues getting in the way of you loving the RDR. Most notably, it represents a bit of a faff. Gap-fill CPD might be a chore, and then you’ve got to get new qualifications and explain to clients who have always perceived commission-based advice to be free why they are suddenly being charged a fee in return for your time. It’s a nightmare.