In Focus: 10 years of RDR  

'Horrible time' and 'best thing': Advisers share their experiences with the RDR

'Horrible time' and 'best thing': Advisers share their experiences with the RDR

The Retail Distribution Review has changed the advice industry profoundly, causing vast numbers to exit or lose their jobs, while others saw it as an inspiration and opportunity to forge a career in this industry.

While many advisers would agree the industry has become more professional as a result of the RDR, there is also consensus about things that went wrong, such as the advice gap. Some believe the impending consumer duty is designed to finish the job. 

Below, three advisers share their experiences with the RDR, the way it has changed their careers, and the opportunities it has opened up for them.

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David Robinson, director at Wildcat Law

'It was a horrible time seeing a very successful model forced to close' (credit: Carmen Reichman)

At the time of the RDR Robinson worked with building society partnerships at Aviva. He says he proposed a plan for keeping the work alive but ultimately that was rejected, to the detriment of the clients.

A wave of redundancies followed, propelling Robinson into another advice position dealing with an entirely different clientele.

But the experience has also shaped his outlook on life and what it means to run a successful business.

Wes Wilkes, managing partner and investment director at Iron Market Group

'The best thing that happened to me, my family and my clients' (credit: Carmen Reichman)

Wes Wilkes says the RDR cost him his bank adviser job, but nevertheless he regards it as the best thing that could have happened to him.

He was on a trip to Lapland when his colleagues informed him his then employer, Santander bank, had called for a telephone briefing and told its advisers to stop any client meetings until further notice.

Being forced to ponder his future, he ultimately decided he wanted to try going it alone, as an RDR-compliant adviser, delivering investment advice the way he thought it should be delivered.

Iron Market Group, a directly authorised firm with DFM permissions, is now in its tenth year, and has some ambitious growth plans for the future.

Dan Haylett, head of growth and financial life planner at TFP Financial Planning

'RDR spurred me on to be where I am today' (credit: Carmen Reichman)

Haylett says RDR spurred him on to quit his job in asset management distribution and become a financial planner some five years ago.

This was because the reforms had allowed professional modern advice businesses to flourish, and ones the he saw as having passion and a purpose. 

He had searched for 18 months for a firm with the right mindset until he was lucky to be able to join TFP.

But he notes the RDR, though being a success overall, has not achieved all the things it had set out to achieve, and says the consumer duty could be able to finish the job.