Simoney Kyriakou  

Financial advisers don't all need to be the same

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

Financial advisers will always be necessary and needed. 

This is not a prediction: it is a fact borne out by the sheer number of people each year who approach financial advisers for help, guidance and advice about their financial futures. The profession is replete with dedicated, trustworthy and caring people who genuinely want the best for their clients. 

So it is sometimes galling to me when I see the 'independent' and 'restricted' arguments come up again and again. It was getting old back in 2014 and, like the question of whether Lord Lucan is still alive, it is not dying off.

This week's Financial Adviser has both news analysis and expert comment on the subject, with some companies claiming the insatiable appetite of consolidators will eat up all the small, truly independent players, leaving the UK in the grip of leviathan-like restricted companies.

There are two ways of thinking about this. One is to decry the trend towards restricted (or pseudo-independent), and fight to the last breath the corner of the truly independent sole trader. The other is to consider why we are in the financial advice industry in the first place. We are in it because the public desperately needs it. 

If the only way to keep adviser levels above water, and perhaps even to bring in new players, is to offer a less than whole-of-market proposition, or to sell up to a big restricted trade buyer, then isn't that more important than just shutting up shop and stepping away altogether?

We can't be snobbish about the types of advice this industry gives: as long as it is right for that consumer, that is surely the most important factor here. The Retail Distribution Review drove so many people out of this market and the industry needs to be supported not just by government but from within its own ranks. 

If we tell our young people not to continually compare themselves against others, but just to be the best they can be, why do we insist on forcing a narrative that compares restricted to independent, rather than simply acknowledging the differences of both and promoting the benefits of financial advice as a whole?

We don't all have to be the same – but we do all have to be brilliant at what we do.