All at sea when it comes to change

So, I survived the marathon that was the PIMS conference last weekend, onboard the good ship Aurora. This was the last time that the cruise format will be used for the event – with next year’s switching to dry land.

It will be interesting to see what happens as it may be too tempting for the invited audience to ‘slip away’ to manage the day-to-day pressures of work, as a few of the delegates suggested during conversations – something that’s not possible when miles out at sea.

Certainly, if business continues to be as good for advisers as those present at the conference suggested it is now, it will be a challenge to keep them focused away from the day job. The overwhelming message from all those attending was ‘we’ve rarely ever been so busy’’, with more clients knocking on their doors than they can feasibly handle. A raft of DB transfers during the first few months of the year certainly seems to have stretched resources, often with core business being neglected, based on discussions had.

Recruitment of new advisers was discussed as an issue with the latest statistics showing the average age of advisers has increased post RDR to 58. Although many of those present were reaching an age when they might be planning their retirement from the industry, there was an air of uncertainty around what the best solution for succession would be. All agreed that getting new recruits would seem to be imperative.

The good news for anyone thinking about a career in financial advice is that the technology available for transacting business makes the job far more interesting. Rather than spending time form-filling, the smart adviser taps into the automated tools that are available and has more time to spend in front of clients, helping them to plan their financial futures – a far more rewarding use of time in all senses of the word. However, for many advisers, they seem to be just too busy to even consider embracing such technology, caught on a treadmill of managing the clients they have and, with retirement in their sights, they lack the motivation to create upheaval within the business.

This is all very understandable but I can’t help thinking that, with the speed of technological developments; the growing need for people to have financial advice and a steady stream of graduates entering the workplace looking for profitable careers, it may not pay to feel too cosy with the current status quo.