Regulation  

RDR roundup: This is it, folks

If you are reading this, it is likely the Mayans were wrong and the world did not, in fact, come to an end today on 21 December as they had predicted.

The Mayans were never really known for making predictions, after all. Instead, they wrote a lot about what happened in the past.

With that in mind, some experts believe the prophetic inscriptions found in the Mayan temple of Tortuguero in Mexico’s Gulf coast state refer not to the end of the world, but to the end of an era and the start of a new one.

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Fitting, then, that the end of 2012 marks the conclusion of one era for financial advice and the start of another. This is it folks, the moment when the RDR is implemented and everyone waits in silence at midnight hoping back office systems don’t suddenly explode and their clients continue to walk into IFA offices, this time willing to pay fees for advice.

Despite the impending doom, both Mayan and regulatory, it appears advisers haven’t given up making plans for the future, which is probably a good thing for client outcomes.

Aviva’s latest round of research, the ‘Aviva Barometer’ – and its last survey before the RDR is implemented – found 34 per cent of advisers are contemplating changing their main platform in the next 12 months. The main reason for this decision? Cost. The second reason? Scope of investment options.

But when it comes to selecting a platform, rather than switching to another, the primary concern is functionality (70 per cent), the secondary is choice of funds (49 per cent).

A survey of 224 advisers conducted by Schroders found 50.5 per cent of respondents would increase their use of outsourcing to manage client investment, while at present 54.5 per cent said they did not outsource.

But none of this will matter much if advisers don’t have any clients. That is a major worry to come out of the Schroders research. In its study, 40 per cent of participants intended to offer either basic advice or execution-only services to clients.

The thinking here is many potential clients with small amounts of money will invest without any advice and Schroders is concerned such moves will lead to more clients investing without advice. The firm argues it is better they go through an adviser, even if execution-only, rather than do it online without any assistance at all.