Existing financial planners may need to re-think their client propositions as the RDR's drive for professionalism closes the gap between them and traditional advisers, threesixty says.
The support services provider says the RDR could rid financial planners of their unique selling points (USPs) as all advice firms will have similar propositions, charging models and minimum qualifications.
According to threesixty partner David Ingram, planners need to prepare now to compete in a more uniform world as confidence in their practices will mean little if they do not factor in the practicalities of the changes.
He says: "At a surface level, the current range of financial planners, wealth managers, whatever you want to call the existing firms, are prepared for RDR.
"They have the qualifications, have been working on a fee basis for some time, and have clear client propositions.
"But do they recognise while these factors currently make them stand out from the herd, all surviving IFA firms post-RDR will also possess those characteristics?"
Substantially reconsidering their customer offering could be a way to regain their USP going forward, says Ingram: "Financial planners maybe RDR-ready but are they competitor ready?"
However, principal of Essex-based Woodruff Financial Planning, Dan Woodruff, maintains early adopters will still have the edge.
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and trained solicitor says early investments in qualifications and compliance will pay off when new and old-model advisers square up over the same territory in 2013.
For planners, the RDR is a "double-edged sword", he says: "A lot of competition will leave but the ones that are good will adapt."
Better distinctions between practices need to come from the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), he says.
"The IFP needs to get their act together and define financial planning as a profession like chartered accountants have and like they do in the US.
"Right now if I say to customers, and even some industry people, that I am CFP they look at me like I am speaking a foreign language," he says.
Nick Cann, chief executive of the IFP, counters the body continues to lead the way in highlighting the professional status of planners.
But he adds that, in a changing industry, no-one can afford to rest on their laurels.
"Those who have led the way now have to consider what more they have to do to keep ahead of the bar, using new techniques and improving, changing who their clients are perhaps," he says.
"If you stand still you get overtaken. You have to look around to challenge what you are doing to stay ahead of the pack."
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