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What will 2019 hold for the financial advice industry?

18 December 2018

Dynamic Planner CEO Ben Goss sets out below what he believes the next 12 months has in store for the advice industry.

Advisers won’t need a crystal ball to know that 2019 is likely to start in a more challenging place for them and for their clients than 2018 did, but the advice industry earns its corn in times of uncertainty.

2019 will offer huge opportunities for advisers to demonstrate their value to clients and enhance their proposition along the way

1. Cash will (initially) be king: At the start of 2019 the temptation to move into cash will be very strong indeed for clients approaching or in retirement as market volatility and the uncertainty around Brexit continues. Advisers will have to be on their game reassuring them that their investments are suitable and that they should stick to their plan. The use of risk based cash flow plans to illustrate the range of potential returns likely to be encountered and test risk capacity, will be invaluable in helping clients stay on track.

2. Change and yet more regulatory change: January marks the first anniversary of MiFID II and the point at which firms have to start giving their annual suitability reviews and address their buy / sell / hold methodology. While potentially challenging given the work that is needed, this is also an opportunity to add further structured reassurance and demonstrate value against a plan which is suitable for the client’s risk profile.  This is made far easier when using a technology based investment process. In the Spring the FCA is due to review its thematic work on suitability.

3. Increased focus on developing retirement propositions: While almost all firms have a centralised investment proposition (CIPs) few have something different for clients in retirement. With the challenges of sequencing risk, annual reviews and the need to generate regular income for clients over increasingly extended lifetimes more and more firms will build Central Retirement Propositions (CRPs) in 2019. For the early adopters there is an opportunity to differentiate from peers and competition here and to attract new clients while extending services to existing ones.

4. Risk targeting will move mainstream: Two years after the IA launched the volatility managed sector (and 4 years after DT launched its Risk Target Managed service) this approach to managing client money will finally come of age. A critical mass of major managers now explicitly target objective, independent risk profiles linked to the client’s agreed profile. Those funds targeting our own profiles already exceed £10billion from major managers. The range of outcomes experienced by the client become more certain as a result and the challenges of MiFIDII reviews and ensuring ongoing suitability significantly reduced.

5. Digital reporting accelerates as DB transfers reduce and FCA reviews FAMR: While game changing initiatives like pensions dashboard and open banking are on the bleeding edge of the industry for the time being, the need to reduce client cost to serve will be a priority once again. With the wave of DB transfers diminishing firms will return to a more normalised business model – one where the cost to advise and deliver an ongoing service become a priority once again. The use of digital to automate client reporting, a key driver of cost, will accelerate as will the use of technology within the advice process with requests for clients to complete questionnaires online or elements of the advice process digitally growing exponentially. The FCA will be reviewing progress of FAMR in 2019 including Project Innovate and the Innovation Hub and so we can hope for continued support for technology in the advice process.”