Towards the end of last year we published a series of articles to help advisers prepare for Mifid II, the big (and I mean really big) 30,000-page lump of EU regulation that was coming into force in January 2018. We ran articles called things like ‘Everything advisers need to know about Mifid II’ and ‘10 advisers’ Mifid II preparations’. We got some decent nibbles. But on the day Mifid II came into force on 3 January we emailed all the content again, just in case, and got one almighty bite. Panicking anyone?
The same can be said for a set of FCA regulations that came in alongside Mifid II: Prod (the product intervention and product governance sourcebook). A recent Lang Cat survey found 58% of advisers were not aware of it. Keeping up with regulation still seems to be a struggle for some.
One hugely positive story this year is the gathering support for young advisers, and the success of the NextGen Planners group in particular. This year NextGen Planners launched its own training contract, an independent alternative to the academies run by the likes of St James’s Place and Quilter. That said, support from providers is important. They have the resources to invest in trainees that many smaller firms simply do not have.
Next year the FCA is due to, for want of a better term, review the retail distribution review (RDR). Six years on from the RDR deadline, it will be somewhat like A Christmas Carol for all concerned, with hauntings from the ghosts of past, present and future all at once.
How far has the profession come since commission was banned? Have fees evolved progressively or did firms simply adapt to the reforms? How will the regulator challenge service levels and segmentation? Are independent advisers living up to that designation? And can technology crack the advice gap problem, or will progress by robos (which have started to launch regulated advice offerings) break the established IFA business model?
One thing we know is the firms that start with their client and build up from there have always seemed to weather each storm better than anyone.
This is, pretty much, all from me for 2018. Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!