There were some indications during the pandemic that a significant proportion of advisers focused on serving existing clients rather than bringing in new clients given the challenges of doing so.
Now, as Money Marketing reports, advisers have ramped up plans to hire new employees and grow client numbers, according to the latest NextWealth and the Personal Finance Society (PFS).
Some 65% of advisers have increased their number of clients, compared with 45% in 2020.
It does feel as if the emphasis is on growth now and indeed getting business plans back on track with as little scarring as possible from the pandemic.
The ructions continue at the CII as Sian Fisher is to step down next year having finished her five term in 2020 but having stayed on during Covid. There is some speculation on social media about this justification for the departure rather than the mini-crisis at the organisation.
Pimfa’s policy man Tim Fassam tells the New Model Adviser podcast that the FCA’s row back on its 10% target for cutting FSCS bills was ‘embarrassing’ but said the regulator’s initial target was ‘not very ambitious’ to begin with.
The FCA has sent wealth bosses a Dear CEO letter outlining suitability and fee worries.
It includes this concerning line – “Where portfolios include high-risk and/or unregulated investments, this must be fully justified both by the client’s risk profile and your due diligence on the investment. You must also ensure that your customers understand the FSCS [Financial Services Compensation Scheme] consumer protection status and associated risks of those investments.”
Finally, the FCA director of its consumer investments division Debbie Gupta has mused on the sheer number of firms which “makes it really difficult for people like you and I to navigate” the sector adding “6,000 firms and over 27,000 individuals provide services in this space to help us understand where we might invest, how we might invest, and providing advice to consumers,” she says, adding: “It’s really easy for bad actors to hide.”
This is an old trope and one that may exasperate small, well-run advice businesses. The big risk for the industry is if it translates into policy though think this is rare. Many advisers will continue to worry about this.