About 25 years ago I gave a speech at the annual conference of the Institute of Financial Planning (now part of the CISI) in Cambridge. I talked about my dream of a highly respected and highly ethical profession of Financial Planning - of great businesses and fulfilled, happy staff.
I wanted financial advisers to share the dream and believe that we could do better and make a real difference to people’s lives. To guide clients to a better future, to make them feel happier and more secure as well a better educated about their money.
Sadly, I only had a small percentage of UK advisers as an audience and my message went largely ignored. But I knew that change had to happen before we could achieve our deserved status and today that dream is still cherished. I have wondered for a long time why so many others haven’t been inspired by the power of Financial Planning and the positive effect it has on so many people and businesses.
But I feel we are making progress and think that we are a bit closer to the dream. There are people who think like me and share the same beliefs and values – we have a shared purpose, a passion for planning and optimism for the future of our profession. But we can only remain evangelical for so long – it takes a lot of energy and conviction to keep banging on about something that others ignore or fail to understand (I think I’m doing OK 25 years later!).
Assuming we are all in agreement that change is necessary, how do we move forward? We all know what has to change in order for the public to trust the Financial Planning profession more – for example, we have to be more transparent, more client centric, provide a better client service and stop just selling products.
Many of us know how to go about changing public attitudes – for example: FCA support, Which? endorsement, greater exposure on radio and TV, lovely marketing campaigns and so on. But how many of us really understand why we need to make changes?
It is very hard to articulate why we do what we do – why we feel and believe and behave in certain ways towards our purpose. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if all those of us who really want an exalted Financial Planning profession, were able to join together to inspire others with our shared belief and make the dream come true?
Let me finish by trying to explain why I do what I do and if this resonates with you, send me a message. Firstly what I do is to help people to get financially organised and determine their goals. How I do this relies on cashflow modelling and providing financial solutions. Why I get out of bed every day is to inspire people to pursue their passions – and seeing their successes is one of the greatest natural highs in life.
Are you ready…? I know I am.
- This column first appeared in the latest edition of Financial Planning Today magazine, read it for free here.
Julie Lord is chief executive and a founder of Magenta Financial Planning in Bridgend, South Wales