What's going on across the pond?
Some people see the jet-set lifestyle as glamorous, but as I sit
here on a flight back from the US writing this week's blog, I can
tell you it's not as attractive a lifestyle as you might imagine!
As CEO I do occasionally have the pleasure of travelling to
different countries to attend key industry events, this time to a 3
day conference in Boston, but I can assure you it's strictly
business and run over the weekend to reduce the business impact for
Attending this year's Financial Planning Association conference
provided me with an opportunity to collect global views of
financial advice success, opportunities and threats and compare
similarities with our own market. The ability to exchange ideas
with our counterparts across the pond is invaluable and helps give
me an understanding of areas where we, as a professional body, have
room for improvement and where we are ahead of the curve.
It was particularly interesting to note that the UK is now seen
as the 'gold standard' for advice whereas it was previously just
seen as the gold standard for regulation. Globally, advisers can't
comprehend an RDR-style regime in their respective countries
believing it would lead to Armageddon!
As we continue the debate regarding adviser liability and the
lack of a long stop, America is entering a new era of introducing
adviser fiduciary responsibility to protect consumers at retirement
from poor advice. Pension freedoms have of course been a feature of
the US system for some years and the unintended consequences are
all too evident. Unfortunately advisers and the cost of advice are
under the spotlight for the wrong reasons, especially where
consumers have exhausted funds and want someone to blame. The White
House believe that adviser 'conflicts of interest' cost American
savers over $17 Billion a year and tougher regulation is being
introduced to tackle it.
I found it really insightful to see how the financial planning
community in the US has dealt with pension freedoms and what issues
have arisen during the process. I have been really pleased
(although not surprised) at how well the UK financial planning
community has handled the transition through what can only be
described as a highly unpredictable and uncertain few years. We
have faced challenges from government and regulators but the level
of professionalism maintained throughout has been admirable...and
I'm proud to tell our American cousins accordingly. It will
certainly be an interesting time ahead as the unintended
consequences of pension freedoms start to unfold here as well.
Technology and the new trend of robo-advice was also a hot topic
of discussion and it is clear that we have a lot in common with our
The USA has over 300,000 financial advisers by comparison to
c.32,500 in the UK and there are some valuable lessons to be learnt
from both sides of the Atlantic, but I do believe the UK advice
profession rightly deserves recognition for being the 'gold
About the Blog
In this blog Personal Finance Society CEO Keith Richards will be
keeping you up-to-date with all the Personal Finance Society news,
projects and initiatives that we have in the works.
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