As many people will be aware, 1st of January 2013 was the first day under new Financial Services Regulations – arguably the biggest shake up to hit the industry in years. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) brought in numerous changes to how financial services companies operated and how business was transacted. Six months on I will give my opinions on how things have affected us here at FMB and more importantly, the reaction from some of my clients.
No more commissions – fees only
All firms must work on a fee only business. Unsurprisingly this is the one that grabbed all the headlines in the press. However FMB, along with many other prestigious firms, had already implemented this as an option to clients long before the 1st January 2013.
My View – makes perfect sense. It has erased that element of suspicion that could cross some client’s minds when a particular company or fund manager was recommended. Our fees are exactly the same whichever course of action, product provider or fund manager we may recommend. Any bias to a particular company can only be influenced by the service, quality and pricing structure on offer.
Clients view – generally well received. They not only know exactly what they are paying FMB for advice and guidance they also know what other third parties might receive. Some clients express a little concern that often 2 or 3 parties may be receiving a fee but this is no different from before it is just transparent. In many instances the sum of these fees received by all parties involved is less than the previous all in one ‘commission’.
Minimum requirements raised substantially from 1st January 2013. Advisers not attaining at least the new minimum ‘diploma’ level could not practice.
My View – the former FSA gave approximately 4 years notification of these proposals so there was no excuse for missing the deadline. Revision itself can be irritating at times and some of the study text is a sure cure for bouts of insomnia. However, achieving additional professional qualifications does impart professional pride and confidence and in my opinion, knowledge is king in an ever increasing technical industry.
Clients View – some are unaware and indeed uninterested but the more discerning clients do take note and reassurance in the knowledge that their adviser is highly qualified as well as experienced.
Were we looking forward to all the changes? No
Was the transition seamless? No
Have we come to terms with and embraced the new environment? Absolutely.
Are we ready for the next 6 months? Undoubtedly
To quote my old rugby coach, ‘We must all aspire to improve’.
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