What a sensational Olympics Rio and Team GB have served up for us all.
Amid all the celebrations, however, what impressed me more than anything else were the “back stories” of some of the athletes.
Nick Skelton overcoming a hip replacement and a broken neck to win gold at age 58; Becky James winning silver after cancer treatment; and the countless others whose determination to succeed against life’s challenges set them apart as highly motivated individuals determined to give their best in their chosen discipline.
I wondered, if we had an Olympics for financial planners, how would Team FP perform? Clearly, the financial sector as a whole, along with every individual adviser, has faced many challenges in recent years.
The credit crisis, market volatility and miniscule interest rates, along with the impact of the retail distribution review (RDR) and the ever-increasing burden of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), have created unwanted and, in the case of the FSCS, totally unwarranted costs or difficulties for all of us.
Equally, post-RDR, increased professionalism and the growing demand for financial advice are creating ever greater opportunities.
So, how are we performing as individual members of Team FP? Are we doing the minimum we need to do for our existing clients, or are we striving to be gold medal winners?
If we specialise in, say, pensions, are we also alert to our clients’ potential needs for inheritance tax and estate planning?
Our clients will look to us for advice across their overall finances whatever our speciality. If you neglect to address their other areas of need, your chances of gaining a gold medal from them or their family will dramatically reduce.
Alternatively, you may think you deserve a medal for arranging mortgages, but fall at the first hurdle when it comes to providing the life assurance cover needed to protect the mortgage debt.
To clinch gold you must ensure that the mortgage debt which has been created is properly protected should tragedy strike the breadwinner. Not to do so ignores the duty of care owed to the client and his or her family and will move you down the rankings.
Again, if protection is not something you are interested or experienced in, set up a referral arrangement to ensure your clients’ needs are fully catered for.
They will enjoy a more appropriate and complete service while you generate greater commercial success and ensure that your place on the medal winner’s podium is unassailable.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group