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Home > Opinion > Jon Cudby

Fisher’s post-RDR vision should offend advisers

Towry’s CEO is on a mission to make more friends in the industry.

By Jon Cudby | Published Jun 26, 2012 | Your Industry | comments

I have a dream that one day I will be able to write one of these columns without mentioning the RDR. Maybe one day we will even be able to produce a whole magazine without having to use those three little letters.

There will come a time when the RDR will just be the way things are done. But for now, it dominates everything. Everybody has a view on the impending regulatory landscape’s impact. You may have long since grown bored with hearing these views, but nobody seems to be tiring of sharing them.

Andrew Fisher, a man never short of an opinion, has become the latest to add to the noise. The Towry chief executive was addressing an Institute of Economic Affairs conference recently and couldn’t resist the opportunity to share his vision of how he sees the way forward for the advice market.

First, he identified an issue that he sees afflicting the industry, claiming advisers are too pre-occupied with finding problems to solve.

I find it terrifying that Fisher – the head of a large advice firm himself – believes advisers should not worry over their clients’ less obvious problems

I am not sure where to begin with this. I find it terrifying that Fisher – the head of a large advice firm himself – believes advisers should not worry themselves over their clients’ less obvious problems.

Before anyone had the chance to give him the benefit of the doubt and find a more sympathetic interpretation of his words, Fisher went on to clarify: “I go to a private healthcare clinic in the hope they would find nothing wrong with me.”

Of course he is right. So do I. I’m sure we all do. But I’d also prefer it if – were there something wrong – the check-up spotted it rather than giving me an all-clear just because the doctor started from the assumption that everything is fine and didn’t really try to find a problem.

Financial planners should not invent problems for the clients to engineer a product sale. If they did, Fisher would be right to criticise, but is that really a widespread issue? It is hard not to draw the conclusion that Fisher himself could be guilty of looking for a problem where there is none.

The role of a financial planner should be to identify issues and then solve them, not pretend problems don’t exist at all. The huge majority of clients visit a financial adviser because they want a problem solved; most of them probably don’t know themselves what that is. Finding out and telling them should be the basis for everything a financial planner does.

Remuneration may still be an area of uncertainty as the RDR approaches. But don’t worry. Fisher has a plan for that too. Apparently mid-range clients will be happy to pay £300 for a triennial financial healthcheck. Presumably while hoping they won’t be told anything is wrong with them.

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