On 21 December, the most recent date some of the more excitable members of humanity had in their diaries for the world coming to an end, a friend read me an email she had received on a number of different ways this might potentially come about.
After running though usual suspects such as solar flares and ‘super’ volcanoes, she came to other equally bleak but less immediate catastrophes such as a nuclear winter and biological warfare – and that felt like cheating. If the world is going to end on a particular day, then I expect it to go ‘boom’ in an instant or at least within 24 hours. Any Armageddon that could take weeks or even months seemed contrary to the spirit of the occasion.
The complete opposite could be said of the other date of recent weeks that attracted its fair share of doom-laden, albeit more industry-specific, predictions. For, far from the ‘boom’ of a killer asteroid or the Hadron Collider bringing us closer to God than its creators ever wished, 31 December 2012 has – at least to me – always carried more of the whiff of something longer and more drawn-out. Anthrax for advisers, as it were.
So that, as I have suggested here before, the Retail Distribution Review finally coming into force might eventually be seen not so much as the end of some advisers’ troubles as the start – or the ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’ moment, as I believe I once wrote.
That cheery thought had itself been inspired by a piece about Ongoing client reviews written for Adviser-Hub by FP Advance chief executive Brett Davidson as part of his series on Four key issues for advisers to get right post-RDR. “Remember,” he wrote, “from 1 January, clients will be able to turn off the trail payments if they are unsatisfied with the value of your ongoing service.
“Initially this applies to new business written after 1 January, but any change to existing business will bring it into the new world. You can just see the headlines in the Daily Mail and other financial pages – ‘Turn off your advisers’ annual payments if you are not happy’. It is my prediction this will be a slow death for many advisers over the first three or four years of the post-RDR environment and we will see many leave the industry as a result.”
On a brighter note, which this week is admittedly not saying a great deal, Brett’s conclusions in that piece and indeed his observations in his final article in the series – on Client selection and identifying your 'client sweet spot' – are significantly more upbeat. And, to continue that mood, everyone at Adviser-Hub wishes you a very happy and prosperous New Year.