The dirty dozen: 12 signs your website needs updating


As the foundation for a successful marketing strategy, I firmly believe every advisory firm should have a website. But, once it has been built, too many advisers gleefully tick it off their to do list and then promptly forget about it. That’s a mistake. The design of your website probably has a shelf life of...

Lock and load – how the big distributors exploit their customers


John Wayne immortalised the phrase “lock and load” in his 1949 classic film, The Sands of Iwo Jima. It has come to symbolise a kind of bravado associated with firearms and the military.

In today’s financial marketplace, the term can be used to describe a very different business strategy. The holy grail for any financial product manufacturer is to control a distribution channel where the level of price sensitivity is low and to lay off any regulatory liability from poor advice.

The independent channel has proved to be highly resistant to any control and competition has ensured that, as far as is possible in a market with low price visibility, product margins have remained stubbornly low.

A house divided?


In 1858, just 3 years before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln predicted, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Looking at our profession’s attempts to represent itself in discussions with the regulator, there is a clear warning in Lincoln’s prophetic words. There can be no doubt that a unified and consistent approach to lobbying...

FCA, The Blonde Bond?


With most people’s focus being on RDR it has been easy to overlook the fact that 2013 brings a new regulator.

As in the past, the transition between regulators will look and feel a little like when we are introduced to a new James Bond. You know what it’s like. You have got used to the old one, the style of humour, the action scenes, and the way he looks and then they announce that there is to be a replacement. You know that there will still be glamorous locations, intrigue, action, romance and ultimate triumph over adversity resulting in our fundamental way of life being saved from the ravages of an evil despot, but you are going to have to get used to a new face.