It is probably fair to suggest that the longer-term impact of the RDR cannot yet be safely predicted, as the concentration of effort among advisers and providers alike has been to ensure that our respective new regulatory procedures passed muster and the economic effects of change on the business were properly assessed and dealt with.
As a result, the first nine months of RDR rule has not seen much in the way of innovation or radicalism.
Sure, there have been initiatives taken around pricing and that has a consequential effect which I am not playing down, far from it, but if Mao was conducting oversight then he would advocate that we wait and see the real impact.
One refrain constantly heard this year, however, has been the need to demonstrate value - for quite obvious reasons – and the desire to promote a real and more professional image for the industry must be the right thing.
Professions such as accountancy and the legal profession have developed an acceptance among the public that their developed study, skill, experience and focus on advice is a chargeable commodity and that is where our industry needs to be heading.
In that regard, one trend closer to home that has been apparent is the increased focus by advisers on what might be regarded as the more complex trust-based solutions in our stable. This is an interesting development as a projected impact of RDR had been a supposition that we would see a proliferation of low-cost simplified products.
It will be an interesting twist indeed if the impact of the increased educational imposition on advisers and the drive toward a grander professional status is the delivery by providers of advice-laden solutions to match this ambition.
In other words, more sophisticated products emerge to match that professionalism. Back to Mao “In given situations, bad things can lead to good results”.
Chief Executive, The Way Group