Retrospection is a healthy activity. We learn from past successes and failures. We consider different approaches and bring this into our present and future.
I remember being slightly apprehensive of a new body that I knew little about.
Would the Financial Planning content and networks that I valued remain strong? Would it add value? What would happen to the high quality branch meetings? Who would be championing financial planning in an investment orientated organisation? Would the IFP Forum be equipped and free to develop?
One year on I think we are starting to see things mature. The CISI is a really well resourced organisation with talented people. They know how to put on an event well and have a very positive attitude.
Towards the start it did feel like they didn't quite understand what financial planners wanted from the organisation. To an extent this was due to a hand over of systems, responsibilities and some of the behind the scenes work related to any merger.
For me there were two key turning points or gear changes. Firstly the big advertising campaign for not just Financial Planning, but also for Paraplanning. This showed commitment (not just financial, but brand) and a desire to push the profession forward.
The appointment of Campbell Edgar and Jackie Lockie saw things step up a gear. Both are passionate about people, planning and progression. Their experience and gentle approach are a real asset giving authentic leadership.
Within the organisation they have shared the simple, special impact that financial planning provides - staff are having that lightbulb moment.
Having this thought leadership has now seen developments such as a new RDR qualification with e-learning support. I've also enjoyed the increased and stimulating financial planning content that Jackie has curated in the CISI’s magazine. It is exciting and I know there is more in the pipeline.
It's not been universally excellent. The transition of membership fees would be one area. Branch activities would be another area that has been mixed over the last year. But if we expect perfection instantly we are living in a dream world.
George Bernard Shaw said "we are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future." I think that's a good quote to have in mind as we approach the anniversary.
The future of the Financial Planning profession (whichever professional body floats your boat) is in our hands. We have the power to extend access and knowledge.
Or we have the power to let it wilt through apathy and division. What will people see if they look in to our profession? Will they see professionals challenging each other to higher standards for their clients? Or will they see a disparate rabble focused on what went wrong?
There is great potential for the years ahead. How can we best work together to enhance what we do? How can we encourage people to engage with their money as a means to the future rather than a means to boasting?
I leave you with a challenge based on a speech given at the recent PFS Graduation Ceremony.
Let's be a profession where we look to raise the bar rather than seeking to tear others down. Backbiting and infighting, disengagement and destruction have no place in Financial Planning.
Resolve to be the best that you can, for your clients and show them what professionalism really looks like.