It is a common gripe among advisers that regulation and compliance are making their professional lives harder and harder. This is undeniable. However, it is easy to forget that there is a wealth of new options becoming available to advisers that promise to make life considerably easier. In many cases the industry is providing better, more relevant and more transparent products that should help compensate for the increasing burden of legislation.
Firstly there is technology. Our survey this month looks at wrap - who is providing what, how successful they have been, who likes it and who does not. Wrap is by no means a complete solution yet and Rob Fisher of FundsNetwork believes a full wrap product is still 18 months away. But the survey also found that those who are using wrap are finding it beneficial and - perhaps more importantly - so are their clients. The majority of the advisers surveyed found that wrap had helped them develop their business. The industry might not be quite there yet, but it is on its way.
Equally, there are many more options available to advisers on the investment side. For years, the default investment option for advisers was a series of expensive, poorly performing, opaque with-profits funds. Now they can choose from - among others - fund of funds, managed funds, multi-asset portfolios. RealAdviser explores some of the options for the former with-profits investor in the feature on managed funds this month.
There is even innovation in the life office market. Columnist Dave Ferguson this month talks about The Hartford. This is the US life company newly launched in the UK aiming to soak up legacy with-profits business. Its focused fund range and pioneering guarantee structure attract praise from the normally cynical Ferguson. The arrival of the Hartford may give the other life companies something to think about and improve products and performance across the board.
While many aspects of the advisers' professional life are becoming more difficult, there are an increasing number of providers out there bringing new and interesting products to the market. It must be said that the industry still resembles Curates Egg, but in many ways it is moving in the right direction.
Cherry Reynard, editor, RealAdviser
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