Chris Douglas, managing director of Douglas White, tells Professional Adviser's Laura Miller why he left a lucrative job at Skandia to set up as an IFA…
Since graduating university in 2001 I have been permanently employed within financial services, predominantly as a broker consultant.
Most recently, I was a successful consultant at Skandia but decided, of my own free will and accord, to leave the company and set up my own financial services business.
Why did I do this?
1 Having met and worked with literally thousands of IFAs I realised that the number I had (or would) recommend was a single digit;
Why I left Skandia to set up as an IFA
2 Working with IFAs in the build-up to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), I came to realise that there was going to be a lot of advisers who would decide to leave the industry or be told to leave the industry when their post-RDR business didn’t work;
3 I wanted to have the influence and control to build something meaningful.
During the last four to five years I worked closely with Ian Jarvis, managing director of Bateman Jarvis helping him to develop the RDR offering that we both now use. My firm is an appointed representative of Bateman Jarvis.
I honestly believe that, if you start with a good moral compass and do the right thing at the right time, then you can really make a difference (and hopefully make a business) in a post-RDR world.
How we are different
So are we really different? Well we have been working on and developing our post-RDR proposition for about five years. Looking at our investment option in particular, we have four main service options for investment clients (see box).
There is a lot of talk of segmentation within the financial services industry and there is one thing I see which I don’t understand and that I think will become unstuck through 2013; segmenting the service a client can have by the assets they ask an adviser to manage. Where is the client choice?
Life in 2013 and beyond
I am looking forward to life this year and beyond and expect to continue to develop new relationships with clients. Some of these will be clients from other adviser firms where they no longer offer the relevant advice, where the client is not given choice over how they wish to work with their adviser or where they do not see the value for the price they are being asked to pay. (How many now charge 1% as standard?)
I am also in conversation with existing firms looking at options in 2013 and I expect this to increase. The types of firm are those who have their qualifications but have not built processes and often the advisers are looking to leave the industry in three to five years.
Overall, I am genuinely excited about who I am going to work with, how I am going to work with them and the mutual benefits that are available.
The four service options offered by Douglas White
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