In the 1980’s Japan was an economic miracle. Business schools and universities taught consensus, just in time, quality control, Kaizen. There was talk of doing group exercises in the reception area at Allied Dunbar, as they still do in China and Japan.
In that decade and the early 1990’s you could barely sell enough savings or insurance. Mrs Thatcher was clear – the nanny state was unaffordable, and the Government would not be there for when you reach you retirement, or even if you were sick. We all piled into pensions and long term sickness policies. Ironically her policies were so successful in revitalising Britain that the Government earned enough money in taxes to pay to re-install the nanny state that she had started to dismantle. That was the zeitgeist then.
Now compliance culture has gripped hard, and it is difficult to find a way out of its grip. RDR brought along consolidation, and the extraordinary monopoly of regulation from the FCA – an organisation that is literally beyond criticism. The cost of advice has risen higher than anyone can have imagined, freezing out many lower value customers.
And yet the IFA industry is making more money than ever before. This is because the drawbridge is well and truly “up.” There is little sign that it will be coming down, especially not to allow in foreign firms, entrepreneurial flibbertigibbets. Firms like Revolut still are unable to get a banking licence, despite signing up a reported 3,000 customers per day (according to Martin Gilbert, Chairman.)
Mortgage brokers are having a tough time of it since last summer, and are moving into areas the IFAs have left behind – protection and equity release to fill the void.
The key role for IFAs and MGIs then is to overcome the threat with courage. Take the lead and put forward propositions that are grounded in sense, and independent thought. Customers look to you for leadership, as well as advice, and you provide that by research and study. Rather than anticipate changes in the market, actually define your own future, create the market and dominate.
IFAC this year will be running training seminars, to help provide structure to your firm’s processes. We will be delivering seminars every Friday from March 3rd at 10am, starting with an investment committee. We hope that these zoom meetings will be live, interactive and educational and will give you the tools to help define your future.
IFAC February 2023
Last week I wrote about the zeitgeist of time catches us all. This week I can develop that theme with a song that I caught on the airwaves. "There are nine million bicycles in Beijing." A song by Katie Melua, first released in 2005. You can listen to it here. One verse caught my particular attention.
"There are six billion people in the world
More or less...
That's a Fact
It's a thing we can't deny
Like the fact that I will love you till I die"
Today, there are eight billion people.
Population growth creates wealth.
Never has the world been so rich.
Today is the best time to be alive, and the best time to be an IFA, with wealth creation by stock market savings still in its infancy.