Focus, focus... 

Over the last year or so, ValidPath has been pleased and encouraged to welcome a steady stream of new Member Firms, and because a few therefore may not be so aware of an old hobbyhorse of mine,  and being a bit of an opportunist, I thought I'd risk it and return to this theme.

You may have watched the recent Channel 4 documentary 'Jabbed', which focused on the team appointed to spearhead and manage the UK's COVID vaccination programme.  Overall, this was a remarkable story, made all the more remarkable because the feature stressed the degree of vilification that certain key contributors to the programme were subject to in the British media.  The individuals concerned were such outstanding men and women, that it seems almost unfair to single one out for attention, but I'm going to do that simply because of something he said towards the end of the programme.  Here it is...

"Focus on the outcome, not the process...make the process fit the outcome"

Nick Elliott, Vaccine Taskforce Director-General

This has been an absorbing obsession of mine, over many, many years.  It was already a motivator to my own advisory practices when, back in 2008, the (then) FSA launched its 'Advisory Outcomes Project'.  I was an early and enthusiastic participant in that short-lived initiative, which ultimately went nowhere because it became overwhelmed by all other kinds of EU regulatory emphases, and disappeared without trace.  

Nevertheless, it seems to me that a consistent focus on outcomes in the field of financial-planning, is key to minimising our participation in the soul-destroying procession of regulatory initiatives which seem to delight in tarring all intermediaries with the same brush.  The problem is that the nature of regulation is to continually inflate the machinery of bureaucracy without first taking the essential step of nuancing its application.  Advisers are therefore simply presented with ever-expanding lists of requirements, and respond by heaving a sigh and reinventing their process, yet again.

But, if Nick Elliott is conveying a reliable insight here, then it's the nature of the outcome which matters, not so much the nuts and bolts of the process that conveys adviser and client to the end of a predetermined sequence of steps.  My interpretation is that, (a) we must have a very clear idea of what the outcomes we create for our clients must look like, (b) we must adopt a zero tolerance policy if we perceive those outcomes to be defective, and (c) each step in our process must be framed in such a way as to contribute to those outcomes.  Unfortunately, many advisers have merely sought to skip through the process as rapidly as possible, in order to escape into the daylight of the real world at the far end, and inhale deeply of the fresh, unregulated air.  This is perhaps a natural response to the burden of regulation, but it's not a helpful one.

For ValidPath Members, some time ago we wrote a more detailed piece on the relationship between TCF & Outcomes, but for now here is a simple graphic which seeks to explore your key compliance components from that perspective:



Kevin Moss, 11/05/2021