The industry needs to shift focus from ‘what you need to do’ to ‘how will you do it?’
As 2020 continues its pattern of disruption, one thing remains certain – regulatory change is imminent and the new regime will herald, among other things, a far greater level of professionalism for the industry – through enhanced processes, record keeping and oversight.
There has been an abundance of information surrounding the regularly change, and it’s fair to say that many in the industry have information or change ‘fatigue.’
There has been no end to talk about ‘what needs to be done,’ but many are not focusing on how they will actually modify their business to ensure their obligations are being met.
Take an example.
Adviser (Mary) has engaged an external compliance expert to assist in preparing process and policy. She’s plugging away at her Level 5 certificate whilst juggling a client book and servicing new ones. Mary has diligently reviewed all the information sent from the providers and industry bodies and feels reasonably well-placed.
However, there is a disconnect.
Mary is busy. Mary has an advice process that she follows in an ideal world, but often finds time gets in the way of ensuring it’s followed consistently. She has a CRM, but as the days and weeks roll on, the attention to detail and setting time aside to make sure it is updated, with all the notes and documentation from her hard work being professionally recorded. Her policy anniversaries build-up, and whilst she is great with clients requesting a review, she concedes that not all clients are contacted and that her process is not consistent.
She’s juggling her business across her email, a Dropbox account for client files and a CRM that’s slowly evolving into an expensive address book.
This situation will lead to a stressful and difficult audit and does not give the ability to grow and scale the business.
You can have the best processes in the world, but if you lack the time or resourcing to manage them and ensure they are followed, they are not worth the paper they are printed on, and you will fall short in meeting your obligations.
The new regime brings an exciting opportunity for advisers to strengthen and thrive, and whilst on the surface, the new obligations are not necessarily complex, they are very time consuming, and require a level of resourcing (in terms of time and expertise) that many advisers neither have, nor can afford.
Now is the time to ask – I know what needs to be done, how am I going to ensure I have the resources to actually make it happen?