Thursday, 10 May 2018 15:33

Keith Churchouse: "Is our world better 5 years after RDR?"

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Keith Churchouse Keith Churchouse

It is easy to forget that it has been over five years since the implementation of the then FSA’s Retail Distribution Review, or RDR for short, and indeed since their replacement by the now FCA’s regime in April 2013. So, is our world better five years on? I think the answer is very much a ‘yes’.

Looking back to 2012, there was much work for many firms to prepare for the changes required, and which we now all take as read, with of course the ‘nay-sayers’ suggesting that the world as we knew it was coming to an end. Indeed, it did come to an end, and as time has proven, that was probably not a bad thing, for us or for our clients.

Sure, the advice gap expanded in the ‘middle market’ to a greater level and that remains a problem. The ‘Robos’ will have their place, but their progress has been slower than first heralded and I am sure we will see casualties due to a lack of profitable volume levels. The High Street banks now returning to advice? But is their trust model now broken?

Although a fascinating and energising read, to give it credit, I am not sure that the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review (or FAMR) of August 2015 has borne real benefit in this regard. The updated Policy Statement of December 2017 may take its time to bear fruit. Maybe FAMR3?, the trilogy, is now worth production to update the document a stage further, and I would welcome this.

Professionalism through study, the required SPS certification, and qualifications has moved forward dramatically, seeing effects such as complaints against advisers falling significantly, according to recent statistics. We should applaud our professional bodies, the CISI and the PFS, for helping achieve this as the outcomes are now clear.

Has regulation by the FCA become any more onerous for advisers and financial planners? Largely not for most. Indeed, communication from the regulator on what they want to achieve and how they communicate with us has, I believe, improved.

What else is there of note in our changed world post RDR?
• Pensions Auto-Enrolment… and its now occurring increases
• Pensions Dashboard launch? Watch this space
• Merging guidance bodies (Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise)? Watch this space
• Brexit! Watch this space
• Technology changes in the way we work have improved dramatically, as long as change is embraced.
• Cold calling ban? Long overdue, but watch this space – we hope in June 2018

The big change I think for many in the adviser and Financial Planner space, along with wealth managers, has been George Osborne’s pension freedoms legislation change, of April 2015, which is now in its third year and has for many clients, opened up a huge opportunity although this is not without its significant risks as some understand and regret.

The overall outcome of the last five years? I have suggested for a couple of years now that Financial Planning is a growth area with the prospect for advisers, Financial Planners, Paraplanners and wealth managers never looking so good. Regulation has not become any more burdensome, but as always should be at the heart of every organisation.

Is our world better? Roll on the next five years; we are looking forward to it.

Keith Churchouse BA (Hons), FPFS CFP Chartered FCSI is director of Chapters Financial based in Guildford, Surrey

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Read 1487 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 09:41
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