Welcome Advice

Keith Carby

Executive Chairman

Maibridge Ltd

The impact of depolarization has been limited so far, but Keith Carby believes that good advisers still have a bright future – whichever way they move.
In 1995, a City University Business School research report took 271 pages to discuss “the key to success and survival in the insurance industry”.1 Whilst wide ranging in scope, there was not a single mention of the “R-word”. Whether or not such an omission was justified after the first ten years of regulation, very few of today’s independent financial advisers (IFAs) would feel it was credible to ignore the subject in any analysis of the current picture after a second decade of living with regulation – and nearly four years with the new “superregulator”, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). For many advisers, “risk” (which they would see as having been inflated by regulation) has become the number two preoccupation – just behind the challenge of continuing to make a living by providing a good service to their clients.
That is not to say most IFAs feel negatively towards regulation in general or the FSA in particular. In my experience, by and large, they don’t. Most accept that regulation was inevitable and that, undoubtedly, there have been positive consequences. Perhaps the adviser community ought to be given more credit for taking this pragmatic stance, given that their numbers have been savagely reduced, partly as a direct result, and the working lives of those that remain made even more demanding.
Critical concerns
Adviser criticism of regulation invariably relates to specifics, which are usually connected to one of three issues – perceived unfairness, irrelevance, or bureaucracy. In the limited space available here, I will discuss these concerns in relation to just one current topic – depolarization.
Had I been writing these words a year ago, it would undoubtedly have seemed a much bigger issue. But just now, four months after “D-day”2, and after – or perhaps despite – the millions of words written about it and the goodness-knows-how-many man-years of effort analysing and planning for it, depolarization is seen by most IFAs as a non-event.
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