What will the tide reveal next?

Last week as I was taking my lunch I noticed that the River Thames was at a particularly high level. No doubt there were some spots where it was lapping at the footpaths. Today however it is really low. So low that we even have beachcombers here in the City of London looking for interesting items – you might even be able to see them in the pic.

This got me thinking and this seems to be what happens in many circles including Financial Services. We seem to go through periods where things are revealed that have been obscured or covered over. We have seen PPI and pension switching ‘scandals’ in recent years. Quite rightly bad practices are uncovered and made public. We need ‘beachcombers’ and whistleblowers to do this.

The scene got me thinking:

1) What is going to be the next thing to be revealed? Quite possibly annuities will be one area, but equally there may yet be scandal around pension freedoms where people have made poor decisions with weak advice. Financial advisers need to advise – not just blindly follow orders.

2) What are we doing to avoid creating a future problem. My opinion is that proper holistic financial planning will help. However we can’t just think about ourselves and our businesses. We need to engage wider (particularly with our professional bodies) to create a culture of accountability. ‘The right thing’ should always be ‘the first thing’ and intervention needs to happen where this isn’t the philosophy being followed. Our regulators have a tough job so this needs peers to work together for the sake of the industry (and profession).

I’m looking forward to the role that Paraplanners can have in this. I think that the discussions to be had at the planned HowWows will help form a consensus behaviour which will extend to our firms and wider. Standards are meant to inspire and by aiming high I think that we stand a chance at having fewer problems revealed as the tide changes in the future…

For more about the HowWows please visit http://paraplannerspowwow.co.uk/take-you-pick-of-three-howwows-on-paraplanning-standards/

About Dan Atkinson

A Paraplanner at EQ Investors since August 2010, Dan’s Music Technology degree helps him approach Financial Planning problems creatively. IFP Paraplanner of the Year 2014 and member of the PFS Paraplanner Practitioner Panel, Dan is working towards Chartered status and recently became a CISI Accredited Paraplanner. Dan is also involved in youth work at his local Church in Hatfield.

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