Recently, I attended the rather excellent Humans Under Management conference organised by Andy Hart.
It was a day focused on the important things in our businesses: our clients. Note the clients, not their money. It was about people, not pound notes.
There was no mention of products, investments strategies or asset allocations. Mifid II, Product Intervention and Product Governance Sourcebook, and the Senior Managers and Certification Regime barely got a look in. Thank goodness.
It was a room full of people discussing how we deliver the best service to our clients, how we can help people achieve and live the best life they can, to live the life they want to live, or at least as close as they can get.
We did not talk about how to make our clients wealthier; we talked about how to make their lives richer. This is what we should really be doing for our clients: talking to them about them, not their money.
We should not be poring over charts, graphs and numbers in our meetings; we should be looking at the holiday photos for the holiday of a lifetime our advice gave them the confidence to go on, knowing they could afford to do it.
We should be talking about how happy they are, not how rich they are. We should focus on the value we have added to their lives, not the percentage points we have added to their funds.
I am not saying we ignore the money; studies have shown that clients want us to talk to them about the pound notes as well as the people. Why would they not? They have been conditioned that way by years and years of the financial press telling them that is what they need to focus on. Years and years of media reliant on ad revenue from the investment and fund managers.
Just do not make it the focus of what we do; do not take the credit when the investments (markets) are going up, otherwise you will take the blame when they go down. That way lies an unhappy ex-client.
Darren Cooke is a chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning