“Advisers have to ask themselves how they stand out from the competition, given products are increasingly commoditised. Consumers are willing to pay, but for a strong proposition.”
The previous speaker at the conference, Informed Choice’s Nick Bamford, gave his firm as a case study, stating his team worked out there are 164 processes to get through in delivering a financial plan, which on average takes 25 weeks from first call to final completion.
He said things as simple as issuing engagement notices at the same time as letters of authority saved time and increasing the efficiency in small ways lead to marginal gains across the business.
Both speakers agreed that it is very difficult, but absolutely crucial, to recruit the right people.
Mr Bryson also tackled platforms and life companies, saying they will be under significant pressure and must change their models to survive.
Platforms in particular were predicted to see fees fall from around 20 basis points now to between 5 and 15 in 2020.
Mr Bryson said: “I wouldn’t want to be a platform CEO right now, assets will continue to increase and scale matters, but margins will reduce.”
Again, both stated similar things on profit focus for advisers, with Mr Bryson saying IFAs should be commercially savvy and focus on consumer outcomes.
Mr Bamford said that all advisers should share the same goal of “doing what’s best for clients, but in a profitable way, as its vital to make sure we’re all here in the future”.
This morning Baroness Ros Altmann addressed the PFS financial planning symposium in London through a video link.
She said: “The importance of explaining the new state pension, helping people understand that there will be a base on which to build private savings, is an important job for me and for you.
“There are three major themes that I am using to guide the policy decisions I am considering: communication, simplification and incentivisation.
“People think and talk about pensions with too much jargon and complexity and a lot of people find that confusing and you can help them understand it better.”