I was reminded of this with the encouraging results from our annual Financial Planning Today survey of the profession published this month which suggests that most Financial Planners remain ‘remarkably’ confident about the long term. They are investing, not running away from a burning house.
This will surprise many during the current challenging days but these days will not last forever.
Some recent surveys have shone a rather gloomy light suggesting that some planners will never return to the office and business will be much harder to find in future. I disagree, the long term prospects for Financial Planning have hardly changed at all and most planners, who are perhaps the most focused professionals on the longer term, can see that.
That’s why our survey suggests confidence is still there. It hasn’t run away.
This has been underlined in recent days with news that the £45bn mega merger between Smith & Williamson and Tilney is still moving ahead, Financial Planning firms such as Progeny are continuing to expand and firms like Fairstone have barely paused for breath on their own acquisition programmes.
We also saw this week HMRC report that far from draining their pensions dry most Pension Freedom withdrawal users have shown admirable restraint in the second quarter. Whether this was due to their inability to get hold of their provider we may never know but the message was clear, pension savers are conserving cash. A rather logical and common sense thing to do and the opposite of panic.
Sure, we are not out of the woods yet and I will not pretend for a moment that things will not be tough for some firms but the demand for Financial Planning over the next two or three decades will not relent and much of that is down to the demographics of an ageing population, rising wealth and complex taxation questions which planners can help with.
Will things change? Of course, they did after the 2008 financial crash, the effects of which are still being felt over a decade later. That will be the same with Coronavirus, whether or not a vaccine or cure is found. The impact will shape future decision making and that’s a good thing.
Learn from your mistakes and move on but always keep your eyes on the prize.
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. Follow @FPT_Kevin