CompaniesMay 30 2013

Diary of adviser: Steve Osbiston

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BySteve Osbiston

It seems that everything needs to be double and triple-checked following the retail distribution review as so many different fund share classes now apply. Some clean share classes have lower charges if held on a platform or wrap, while others still carry the old higher charges which effectively means a 33 per cent increase in costs to the client. Now which share class is it: A, B, C, R, W, X or I? Oh no – Schroder even has a Z class.

I leave the office shortly after 5pm and arrive home to find a letter from the Chartered Insurance Institute awaiting me, advising that I have been selected to submit my last 12 months’ continuing professional development for review. I wonder if this has anything to do with my recent registration to attend the Personal Finance Society annual conference for the first time? I have been assured by an ex-board member that special sessions are available for advisers like myself whereby you only have to colour in the pictures rather than take detailed notes, although there is a risk I would lose CPD if I colour over a line.


Today is an early start as I need to get to the West Country for a series of presentations to the employees of one of our corporate clients, a large number of who are eligible to join the group personal pension ahead of auto-enrolment. This relationship has been operating on a fee basis for the past 12 years and is a prime example of why charging a fee to the employer on a time-spent basis really does work.

A fair mix of employees attend who ask broadly similar questions, but they all seem reassured that my remuneration is not dependent on them joining the scheme. There is also a degree of suspicion as to how safe pension schemes are: Equitable Life and Robert Maxwell’s legacies still live on.

Despite the long drive home I feel alert enough to attend salsa classes tonight. Three hours of fun working out and learning some new steps with dance master Gio Papas. I am not a gym-goer: dancing is a much better way to keeping fit.


It is another early start as I aim to get to the Cofunds’ seminar this morning. I arrive early so Matthew and Jess, my hosts for the morning, take care of me with several cups of coffee and a bacon roll. More CPD and an interesting talk from Baillie Gifford about its American fund. I have a client meeting to get to on the south coast so I leave before the end.