2019 - The Truth About It 


Welcome back, after the Christmas Break - and, as always within the financial services marketplace, one's foot is already fully depressing the throttle pedal!  Today, on our first day back in the office, before the heating has got to operating temperature, before even the booting up of computers, we've received the first Gabriel regulatory reminder of the New Year from the FCA.  Welcome back, indeed!  Festive occasions and religious observances may come and go, but regulation is the force that never, ever relents, lest financial anarchy ensues.

So here, as play kicks off, as it were, is the prevailing truth about the New Year:  it's going to be a lot like the last one... by which I mean:

  1. Regulatory novelty will dominate, and all of us will dedicate ourselves to complying with it, whilst simultaneously wondering if any of it is actually going to benefit our clients;
  2. We will endeavour to serve our clients well, and do so in a manner which is still broadly commercial;
  3. Those advisers who continue to endlessly fine-tune their advisory model, in pursuit of a kind of notional perfection, will struggle to achieve profitability;
  4. Successful businesses will be those which focus on cross-selling higher-end services to 'low touch' clients, thus migrating to more of a consultancy model;
  5. Those advisory firms which de-emphasise the value of an ongoing service will be more susceptible to product novelty, and that will push up liabilities for redress;
  6. Traditional asset classes will continue to do whatever traditional asset classes have been doing for decades, whereas new-age alternatives, conceived by clever utopians, over-endowed with optimism about the future, will explode without warning, triggering another retrospective regulatory backlash;
  7. The media will be full of Brexit, and the rest of us will remain as clueless or as disillusioned about the whole matter as ever;
  8. The PII marketplace will continue to wither on the vine, as it has done relentlessly over the last decade - and we will work even harder to identify and manage risk, and reassure our insurers through better processes and internal documentation.  In the meantime, it is unclear what, if anything, the FCA is doing about the matter;
  9. Badly-crafted regulation will continue to disenfranchise less well-off customers, and conscientious advisers will work even harder to support and protect such individuals;
  10. Genuinely independent financial advice will continue to represent the gold standard for financial-planning solutions, and ValidPath will remain fully committed to supporting this for our Members.

All the team at ValidPath wish you the very best for 2019.

Kevin Moss, 02/01/2019