November has been a busy month. I seem to have been at a variety of conferences, some in a speaking capacity but others just as a delegate.
I have also done a number of talks to accountants and solicitors on behalf of firms of independent financial advisers.
Throughout all of this, I think that I have learnt some important lessons (often not the one that I had intended!) and I thought perhaps I would go through a few of them:
- Our financial services market is so big and varied that it is almost impossible to regulate the whole thing with one set of rules.
- There is an awful lot of apathy towards the RDR from the average IFA.
- For those that do take an interest, every possible view seems to exist – from fees being right to commission being the consumer favourite, covering every variation in between.
- The RDR has such a long time scale that there is room for manoeuvre on pretty much everything.
- If there is a move to increase the educational standards of IFAs then conference organisers need to focus on the technical content of their events– there are only so many motivational speakers that you can take.
- Solicitors and accountants need to work with IFAs; real value can be added by working together. The problem is that quite often they do not know how to choose the right one
- Personal Accounts (as per the recently published Pensions Bill) (and assuming everything goes to plan between how and 2012) will be one of the most fundamental changes to our pensions system since the introduction of SERPS in 1978.
- There are still an awful lot of questions to be answered regarding Personal Accounts and we must hope that the answers make it a success.
- However successful we are in designing products and reforming the distribution model we must succeed in re-engaging consumers and restoring confidence in our industry or it all would have been something of a waste.
I must admit that my diary now quietens down a bit for Christmas and this is always a good opportunity to think about plans and ideas for next year.
In the mean time I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year (well saves me buying and sending cards!).
Mike Morrison is pensions strategy manager at Winterthur
The views expressed in this article of those of its author and do not necessarily represent those of IFAonline or any other Incisive Media affiliated organisation.IFAonline
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