What I am going to do is give list my Top 10 Wishes for the sector: the things I hope will come true by this time next year (although I wouldn’t bank on it!). If they prove to be spot on then you can expect me to crow about this next year. If my wishes prove to be completely wide of the mark you may struggle to find this opinion piece in January...
These are serious wishes but in no particular order. By all means Tweet or email me to let me know what you want to see happen in the world of Financial Planning, Paraplanning and Wealth Management and whether you disagree or agree with my wishes. Any trolls will be sent to Lapland without a coat.
Top 10 Wishes.
1. A unified professional body for Financial Planning and Paraplanning. Realistically this will have to be a merger of the CISI and PFS or they could create a new body. Either way this would be the biggest driver of change and, I believe, success for the Financial Planning sector in 2017. Both bodies have strong merits but together they would be even stronger.
2. A proper campaign to promote and explain the benefits of Financial Planning to the wider world. Not just a one-off low budget PR campaign for one week, once a year but a 12 month campaign with serious funds behind it. TV and press advertising would be integral. Fronted by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
3. A new Government minister for Financial Planning. The huge funding for MAS could be diverted to pay for this. If the government is serious about educating the public on personal finance its needs to put its money where its mouth is. My nomination for Financial Planning Minister: Jeff Prestridge of the Mail on Sunday or perhaps even the BBC’s Paul Lewis (sorry chaps, I realise you have day jobs too!).
4. A Paraplanning Powwow in Hyde Park featuring hundreds of attendees dressed as Native Americans under a giant Teepee. Ending with a rock concert by Coldplay singing Viva La Paraplanner.
5. Thousands more Financial Planners and Paraplanners adding to the 8,000 who already view our website and magazine each month, enjoying a first class source of news, opinion and exclusive features (sorry about the plug but it is a wish I’d like to see come true!).
6. A celebrity personal finance magazine with stars talking about how their financial plan made all the difference in helping them manage their budget when they were starting out in the business, and ever since. First cover star could be Keira Knightley just because...
7. HMRC to provide 40% tax relief on all Financial Planning fees to make it more affordable for everyone.
8. A new Paraplanning standard to be adopted by the professional bodies with widespread acceptance by the whole sector. Campaign fronted by top Paraplanners such as Richard Allum, Joanna Hague or Dan Atkinson.
9. Government to launch a Financial Planning GCSE and A Level to encourage more young people to enter the profession earlier as apprentices. Campaign fronted by the Education Minister Justine Greening under the slogan: “Financial Planning – the profession of the future”.
10. Financial Planning is voted most exciting and desirable new profession in a Mori poll of 2,000 consumers.
These are, of course, wishes and not predictions and the majority may never come true but that doesn’t stop them being ambitions for a profession still emerging which has huge, but as yet unrealised, potential. Let me know what you think by Tweeting this and adding your own wishes.
My final wish (Number 11 admittedly but I’ve never been good on rules) is for all readers to have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous, peaceful and productive new year.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with over 20 years of experience