Opinion  

A whole new world

Simoney Girard

Listening to Peter Andre and Katie Price’s duet ‘A Whole New World’ is a painful experience but somewhat compelling.

In fact, I am going to listen to it again after I’ve done this blog, and I will claim that any workplace YouTube viewing was merely contextual research.

The truth is, I can’t not hear that awful cacophony every time I read an article on the new RDR world, or see a headline that offers some variation on ‘Brave New World’ ‘A Whole New World’ and, worryingly for those of us who know our history, ‘New World Order’.

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And just as the Price-Andre duet was a hideous mash of terrible nasal tones and grotesquely loose grasp of pitch, so the RDR seems to be a hideous mash of terrible policies and loose grasp of what an adviser’s role actually is in society.

See? I actually did use YouTube to make a serious point.

We were warned in 2010 that up to 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the advisory industry could leave, as a result of the drive for higher qualifications, lack of grandfathering, a sea-change in the way advisers are remunerated and an austere economic environment as the background.

In truth, 1 January came around without a big fuss. Networks did not suddenly declare bankruptcy, press releases still came through and advisers answered their phones. Some even managed to laugh. Perhaps the build-up to RDR was more terrible than the actuality, just as the build-up to the various End Of The World dates in recent years.

But it didn’t take long to see trends emerging. Tenet declared that nearly 10 per cent of its members have been deauthorised.

Separately, the FSA has said it is still receiving last-minute applications from advisers who, having received results in December and realised they need to re-sit, have asked for a stay of leave.

Yes, there are arguments that we all knew this was coming and it was up to us to get ready. But not everyone has the same work or even home life. There’s no use being smug and telling the last-minute advisers that they should have done things sooner.

You just have no idea of what they deal with daily and perhaps it’s best not to judge without having all the facts to hand.

And if you do, don’t judge anyway. It’s just not fair - and if advisers can’t stand together to fight the noisesome calls from various regulators, then what hope is there for those who remain?

The regulator itself has said it will be hard to quantify the true number of leavers as a result of the RDR, while agencies such as Retiring IFA are seeing an increase in the numbers of advisers looking to value their business as a precursor to a sale.