Apparently, being one of the first flowers of spring, the snowdrop can symbolise new beginnings, hope and the ability to overcome challenges.
As 2023 gets underway, it therefore seemed rather appropriate to me that we’ve used these fabulous little flowers as the image for our first magazine cover of this New Year. Particularly given all the challenges facing the advice profession at the moment – oh, and I do love a snowdrop!
However, whether it’s the prospect of recession, the impact of inflation at almost 40 year highs causing the greatest cost of living crisis for generations, the ongoing war in Ukraine or the existential impact of the climate crisis, there’s more than enough uncertainty around.
Spring it on
So, perhaps, in comparison, the challenge we face through the introduction of the FCA’s Consumer Duty rules later this summer, can be brought into some sort of perspective?
That’s not to play it down of course, yes, it’s a fundamental shift. But, in many ways, it’s the culmination of the regulator’s direction of travel for many years as they attempt to influence behaviours across the financial services sector and build consumer confidence.
Ten years’ ago we were in just getting used to life with the new RDR regulations which had such an impact on the development of the profession – notably through changes to adviser charging.
Also through TCF and FAMR to mention just a couple of others, ultimately the regulator has made Consumer Duty its latest attempt to ensure good outcomes for consumers, that any information they receive is simple, clear and understandable plus that they can be confident and capable when making financial decisions. Sounds straightforward enough in principle, doesn’t it?
The new Consumer Duty is already having an impact as firms prepare their systems and processes to make sure they’re all in line with the new rules. However, with six months to go it appears that there is still work to do for some firms as we report on pages 35-39.
Your February edition
As well as Consumer Duty, there’s plenty more in depth reading to get you thinking as you flick through the pages of this latest edition of IFA Magazine.
I’m particularly pleased to introduce our new mini-series, an ‘Ask the Expert’ feature, where Solicitor, Ellen Fell, will be highlighting all sorts of aspects of Family Law with relevance to advisers. This month Ellen looks at relationship or family breakdowns – unfortunately something all too common at this time of year.
With our usual mix of personal and business development themes as well as insight into the investment world, I hope you find it useful and of interest.
Talking of interest?
Last but not least, have you checked out our ‘IFA Talk’ weekly podcasts yet? We’re having some really good conversations with some of the movers and shakers across the financial services sector – and all nice and snappy at about 20 minutes long too. In January alone, we’ve spoken to First Wealth’s Rob Caplan, AJ Bell’s Laith Khalaf and Aegon’s Steven Cameron. I’m sure you’d enjoy them – so grab your headphones and tune in here https://ifamagazine.com/podcasts/
Editor, IFA Magazine