IFAonline asks industry figures to share their true feelings. This week: SimplyBiz managing director Matt Timmins speaks out.
What do you most dislike about the industry?
That there is a lack of consumer awareness about the importance of advice, the industry spends millions internally, but very little externally on promoting itself. I had hoped that with the advent of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) that we would spend more time doing this but consumer awareness is still practically zero.
Consumers that don't have an adviser aren't aware of the importance of advice, we help people protect their families and save for the future.
What do you most admire about the industry?
Their ability to change quickly, to cope with change and always put clients first. Since regulation first began they've had constant change, whether it be a change in regulator, depolarisation, the RDR or whatever. At Simplybiz, we spent hundreds of thousands on a not-for-profit training academy to help prepare advisers for the RDR, it was not something we had envisaged doing, but we've done so to help advisers cope with change.
What I really think: Matt Timmins
What is the best thing anyone's ever said to you?
I once had a client call up and say that they wouldn't be in business if it wasn't for the team at Simplybiz. We helped them move from a network and subsequently the network went under. That was the context of the call. We had ensure they were authorised, trained and compliant. If it wasn't for us he said he would probably have given up.
If you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be?
To enjoy the journey and not just the destination. The problem with goals is that as soon as you achieve them you pick the next one.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a cameraman for BBC wildlife documentaries. I used to love watching them. But I wasn't a creative person. I enjoy photography but have never really been very good at it. It was one of those dreams I had that didn't fit with what I wanted to do at university [marketing]. My father was head of sales for Warner Bros, so I was always interested in marketing and advertising - particularly relaying a message in a succinct manner.
Do you think it's good time to be a financial adviser?
For those who are qualified, yes, it's a good time. There are others that are being forced to leave the industry. I'm also concerned about the fact that advice and manufacturing is so split. I don't know of any other industry that works that way, where you can manufacture something in the dark and have someone else sell it and there be no links between the two.
I guess a concern of mine will be how that manifests itself over time. I worry that we will end up in a situation where advisers and providers do not liaise. Providers offer a great deal of education and training at the moment and I expect that will diminish. Advice without an end product may leave the consumer to make the purchase decision. This could be dangerous.
Greatest achievement to date?
I had two big fears, the ocean and pitch dark. A night dive in the Red Sea was my way of combatting those fears. I am more or less cured. I spent an hour of my life petrified.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs although ironically I have two cats. They were my girlfriend's when we moved in together.
Timmins has been managing director at SimplyBiz for two and a half years. he joined as marketing director in 2002.
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