A New Year message from Ken Davy

03 Jan 2018

Firstly, I would like to wish you a very happy new year from everyone at The SimplyBiz Group.  I hope your 2018 is already off to a good start, and would like to take this opportunity to look forward to some of the exciting times coming up for financial advisers over the next twelve months.

The first I want highlight is the opportunity you have right now to help stop the grotesque injustice of the current system of the FSCS funding.  As you may be aware, I have spent many years campaigning for a review of the disgraceful way in which advisers have to shoulder so much of the financial burden of the FSCS Levy, without any chance of stopping, or influencing those firms who create the liabilities.  The good news is that, at last, the FCA have accepted that providers, who of course really do have the ability to limit claims, should make a contribution and are now consulting on the proportion.  Critically, this consultation closes on 30 January and I urge you to make your voice heard, by submitting a response to ensure that after decades of injustice, 2018 brings the introduction of a fairer deal for advisers; you can respond to the consultation here.  

The bad news is that the consultation paper proposes a providers’ contribution of just 25% which, though an important step, is a wholly inadequate reflection of their ability to spot problem firms early, and thus limit FSCS claims.  I believe a much fairer split to be 75% providers and 25% from advisers, a view I believe the majority of you will share.

The coming year will also see opportunities emerge from greater innovation across the financial services sector, particularly in terms of technology and product development.  There has been an increasing focus on consumers who are potentially vulnerable in today’s markets, particularly the elderly.  I therefore expect to see increased innovation in the equity release and care markets, as creative solutions are developed to help clients in these increasingly important areas of need. To ensure you are able to tap into this market and to provide your clients with much needed support, we will be launching SimplyRefer later this month, which I am sure will be a welcome addition.

In 2018, I believe we will also see digital guidance, a term which is much more appropriate than ‘robo-advice’, start to engage consumers, as advisers more actively harness technology to add efficiencies to their business processes.  The combination of adviser relationships and digital guidance have the potential to deliver the benefits of advice to a number of currently under-served consumer areas. 

Of course, 2018 will also bring its challenges.  We already know that it will be a particularly busy year in terms of regulation.  For starters, we have MiFID II still to bed down, whilst some other big regulatory issues, including GDPR and the Senior Managers’ Regime, are going to need to be addressed and absorbed by all financial advisers. Needless to say, The SimplyBiz Group will continue to offer support in all of these areas, as well as any ‘unexpected’ regulatory changes along the way. Our Regulatory Timeline, which will be released later this week, will help provide you with a horizon scan of what’s coming our way this year, along with where you can find further information and support, which will be supported by our dedicated GDPR hub, also launching this week.

As always, a member of our policy team will be in attendance at all our events this year to provide you with a timely update on all things regulatory, starting with next month’s Investment Forums.  Whilst I’m on the subject of events, look out for our 2018 prospectus which will be landing on your doorstep very soon!

Throughout the past few decades of upheaval and massive change, advisers have consistently demonstrated their resilience and ability to cope with change.  In comparison to some earlier years, I believe that 2018 will prove to be a year that brings far more positive opportunities for growth than challenges, and I confidently expect us all to be able to look back in twelve months’ time on a year of achievement and success.


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