The pandemic has forced many of us to turn to online platforms for hosting client engagements. Meetings that may have begun with the adviser greeting their client with a handshake or perhaps a hug, offering them a cup of tea, and leading them into a welcoming setting with comfortable seating and good lighting are no longer possible.
I entered financial services just as the tech bubble was about to burst. One of my earliest professional experiences of investing was watching the bubble surrounding tech stocks, swiftly followed by the disappointment of investors who had become over exposed to that sector as it collapsed.
Monday saw a grilling of Andrew Bailey, former CEO of the FCA, by Treasury Committee MPs regarding missed opportunities for the early detection of problems at the failed mini-bond provider London Capital & Finance.
I imagine most Financial Planners have a picture in their heads of their ideal client - perhaps a client who looks a bit like their existing clients.
It was, to some degree, inevitable that private equity firms would turn their attention to UK Financial Planner firms.
As many of you will know, I am a big advocate for regulated financial advice. Not only is it essential throughout the accumulation stage, it is even more so in the decumulation stages of life.
If I was a Financial Planner I would likely be infuriated by the news today from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme forecasting a levy on regulated firms of over £1bn over the next 12 months, up 30% on the previous year.
I was mightily impressed this week by the words from the expanding senior team at Glasgow-based holistic Financial Planning firm Murphy Wealth.
A year ago, in January 2020, who could have imagined what the following 12 months would bring. I know many will look back and think it’s a year that they would rather forget.
So are 4,000 regulated firms really going to collapse this year as the FCA has warned this week could happen?
In my two previous articles reflecting on my 50 years in the world of pensions and financial services I looked at current issues and challenges, focussing on what I saw as some of the dominant features of the financial landscape today: technology, complexity, (inconsistent) government policy, (increasing) longevity and the evolution of financial advice.
I was going to dedicate this column to a timely look back at 2020 and a look forward to 2021 (see lower down). Then something happened.
Often people think about putting in place Lasting Power of Attorney for an elderly relative. Although it is something we talk to clients about all the time, I’m writing this article now having seen two high profile cases in the press in recent weeks which underline the vital Financial Planning importance of Power of Attorney.