Caring for the new regulatory baby

It has been a long and often uncomfortable gestation period spanning six years, but it’s finally here and life will never be the same again. The RDR is born.

In platform terms, the birth weight was CP12 pounds/12 ounces.

Now, clearly I’m the wrong gender to know what it must be to like to come to the end of a real pregnancy but I would imagine that it’s tinged with excitement, trepidation and a great deal of relief that the wait is over. And while it’s a safe bet that not everyone will be rushing out to wet the baby’s head there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

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Certainly for lots of advisers it will take a while to get used to life with the newest addition to the regulatory family.

For some managing fee revenue, both the collection and audit of fees will be second nature as it is already an embedded process. However, for many, accounting for fees and being able to report them both internally and to clients will be an entirely new administrative function and has the potential to become a burden if it can’t be re-charged.

I have to declare an obvious interest here when I point to the example of 11 years ago when the first platforms set about minimising paperwork, delivering comprehensive and consolidated reporting and improving the whole process of buying collectives.

However, the fact is now as then, platforms in all their shapes and sizes can hold the key to simplifying an otherwise cumbersome process: fee payment, but without writing out invoices and waiting for cheques to be sent back.

A key platform value add this year will be to manage the collection and payment of fees, allowing advisers to focus on what they do best – providing advice to their clients.

Gone are the days of a paper-based administrative process of having different application forms, separate payments, different client statements and multiple valuations. There’s no reason for fee administration to ever become that cumbersome.

So the message is that life with the RDR doesn’t have to start with sleepless nights for those getting to grips with fees for the first time.

The systems and support are already there, it’s just a case of choosing a platform partner that is the right ‘fit’ for your clients and for your firm. That might be Cofunds, but equally it might be one of the many other platforms and wraps out there, the main thing is that the benefits that are just a click away are felt by advisers and their clients.

That support needs to extend to helping to demonstrate adviser value, drive efficiencies in adviser businesses and helping to deliver value to end investors. And crucially to make sure these can all be done sustainably.