We have lost our way as financial planners.
I believe this is due to our love affair with what ‘wealth management’ became in the past decade. The industry focused on the events and the products that made it money rather than on the relationships behind the money.
The commoditisation of the wealth management proposition will inevitably focus on the cheapest and best products. Whilst critical to our future advice profession, these product beauty parades will become sideshows to the real advice game of delivering greater certainty to clients that seek it, year in, year out.
Today’s wealth management focus on cost-effective product performance will continue to be an important driver of greater certainty. But, like the engine in our vehicles, it will be regarded as only a component of the greater and broader proposition of leading each of our clients in the best direction, providing expertise and building an ongoing relationship that gives them greater financial certainty every year.
So what is the new moniker for this service that isn’t about making clients rich, but making clients feel more secure about better achieving the financial certainty they seek?
The new moniker for financial planners involves being an ongoing financial ‘solution-provider’ for people seeking greater financial certainty in their lives. It’s not reflected by a technical discipline such as being a qualified accountant or accredited insurance agent. Again, these technical skills only reflect components of the expertise required.
For me, the term “financial adviser” combines the elements of leadership, expertise, and relationship into the core of the certainty proposition.
The test for our emerging advice profession will be how inundated we become when the next inevitable ‘market’ correction occurs. If we are again twiddling our fingers and our figures whilst exploring creative ways to sidestep necessary legislative medicine or finding untapped client bases to flog new product offerings to, we won’t have a future.
I hope that, in the same way as doctors deliver greater wellbeing and lawyers deliver greater rights, we build a profession of advisers that deliver greater financial certainty.
These are the best of times to be building great financial advisory firms.
Other instalments in this series: