You can read them in the latest issue here: http://bit.ly/2XUsbm2
More than 100 Financial Planning professionals took part and, if you did, many thanks for answering our questions. There were a lot of questions which allowed us to get under the skin of the sector and take the pulse of the profession.
So what does the survey reveal?
Overall, it shows a remarkably resilient sector brimming with confidence. Most planners are looking to recruit, grow and build for the future. Professional confidence in the future of Financial Planning is high.
But it also shows, a dip in confidence in some areas. Difficulty in finding enough Paraplanners may be leading to some firms re-evaluating if they can afford them or perhaps deciding that outsourced Paraplanning may be a more cost-effective solution. Given the roller-coaster ride of the economy during these Brexit-plagued days it’s no surprise too that some planners are a little hesitant about the immediate future.
One clear influencer is the changing shape of Financial Planning firms. The impact of a recent wave of acquisitions and mergers is spurring the sector towards larger and larger companies and practices. This is in turn providing more impetus - and resources - for career development, professional training, adviser academies and the like. Investment in the sector is increasing.
To be fair many Financial Planners are perfectly happy running smaller practices and earn a good living too. Just as Tesco did not kill off the corner shop, it looks like the corner shops of Financial Planning are finding a new role offering a very localised or niche service.
Unsurprisingly, despite the excitement around fintech, robo advice, digital delivery and the like, the core ‘product’ of Financial Planning remains face to face, personalised, tailored advice. A good pair of ears, vast financial and tax knowledge and a focus on customer service remain the hallmarks of the Financial Planning professional in the 21st century, whether they work for a big company or a small one.
There is no doubt the sector is changing and the holy grail of a national Financial Planning brand may not be too far away but it’s good to see that the core values of Financial Planning remain strong despite the rapidly changing nature of the sector.
The latest issue of the magazine also includes our popular ‘Inside My Business’ feature with Mark Stokes of Succession Wealth. With our survey in mind, his support for ‘Proper Financial Planning’ will ring a chord with many.
• This column is taking a short break to try to achieve something resembling a mottled suntan and will be back in early August.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with 30 years experience. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks.