Post-Brexit, the smallest companies have a difficult road ahead

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

News that many small IFAs are rushing to consolidators because they are failing to obtain professional indemnity cover, or the cost is becoming astronomical, is worrying enough. 

However, added to that, now we have left the EU officially, Boris Johnson is accused of failing to protect small businesses, as one-third say they are ready to leave the UK.

This is according to Censuswide, who surveyed just over 1,000 small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

That may be easy for some, but for most IFAs based in the UK, it is not an option.

In addition, while trade barriers and border checks may be inevitable with departure from the single market and customs union, even if the prime minister achieves the tariffs and quotas deals he seeks, financial services companies look to lose ‘passporting’ rights to trade in the EU.

I despair as to what may happen in the future to the small IFA and financial planner practices who typically provide the most personal services and support for their clients and command the greatest loyalty.

What with the Financial Conduct Authority now breathing down our necks, following exploitation and poor advice from unscrupulous advisers, and a bid to control the culture and performance of larger companies, we get tarred with the same brush, a wide sweep that takes up much-needed resources and time.

This is not to say we should not be supervised in some way, but make it relative to our operation and recognise that a number of small businesses do things really well and do not cut corners.

Personally, I feel inclined to invite a member of the FCA to our company and demonstrate what we actually do, and get a few clients to come along and discuss their outcomes and planning with them as I am sure they have no idea as to our processes, given some of the information it requests.

I recall doing this many years ago and the person from the FCA was appalled at the amount of paperwork we had to give at the time, to a client, before proceeding.

Anyway, if it happens, I will be sure to report back.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth