Maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the prospect of a hot summer ' or it could be the very mild reco...
Maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the prospect of a hot summer ' or it could be the very mild recovery in the markets. Pinch yourself, there is a bit of optimism out there.
It's too early to say whether it it's a fully fledged recovery in the markets. As Fidelity's Anthony Bolton said last week at one of the group's IFA roadshows: 'It feels like the start of a bull market,' but he raised notes of caution.
The index is recovering, but then again the market tends to be six months or so ahead of reality ' ahead of real profits growth (rather than cost-cutting induced profits growth), and genuine consumer confidence.
But there is certainly an air of optimism around. If you look at the movement of some key industry individuals in recent weeks ' notably Craig Walton of Framlington this week ' it seems like there are opportunities out there and an improvement in the opportunities available.
What does and should this mean for the adviser community? At the risk of sounding like the purveyors of doom and gloom, it's crucial now that advisers don't rush back to a bull market mentality ' whether or not this proves to be the start of a bull market or not.
The landscape has moved on in the three years of the bull market for all concerned and the business models that each element of the distribution was working to has been reworked or should have been. As an adviser has your business changed in three years? Certainly your revenues have gone down, and you may just about be getting to grips with the concept of being predominantly fee-based.
But this is only a fraction of the business model ' the revenue side. Do you look at cost of acquisition of business ' you may do if you get it from off-the-page advertising. Do you have any cost benefit analysis of various forms of operating? Do you know which clients are more profitable than others? Do you know which providers are more profitable to work with than others, and we don't mean which pays you the highest commission over the course of a year? If a bull market returns, and investors start flooding through your doors again (but let's be honest that's not going to happen), it doesn't mean only business practices and remuneration will return. The bear market has set in place the principle of lower margins ' and that includes lower margins for what currently passes as advice. Advisers need to analyse their business models and change their working practices, it may not be easy but it will be the only way to actual make any money in a low-margin world.
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