Like it or lump it, the move to an independent financial advice community is on and it's about time. The wave has formed, it's a clean point break that has no end in sight, so jump on as it is going to redefine our existence.
I have been waiting for this wave to form for my entire career and I have never been so excited to be part of this industry as I am now. The age of the institutionally-owned licensee and conflicted white-labelled platform deal is over and the dark cloud that has thwarted innovation and made advisers play to the lowest common denominator – where bullying and intimidation was par for the course – is disappearing.
Hotel California's doors have flung open and the licensee's chequebook is going up in smoke. This is what we are hearing from our clients and others who are voting with their feet and changing their licensing status.
This amazing world that I am experiencing daily now has business owners talking about how they can get control over their business and integrate technology in a way that is not the dealer group's or platform's way or the highway. I am finally hearing of business owners putting CRM at the core of their business and going to their technology providers and demanding they integrate or, at the very least, freeing themselves of a CRM that is an afterthought. Advisers are realising that in order to compete in the new world an SOA should be able to be created within 20 minutes not five hours.
Principals are finally talking about how they can truly create a client-centric advice proposition where they can mass-customise portfolios and treat every client individually around their investments via technology, not a paper-based review process.
Advisers are talking to me about how they can truly create technology-enabled advice propositions that put the client's values and goals at the core, not some meaningless benchmark around performance.
They are realising that for too long they have been paid the least, with conflicted white-labelled platforms and fund managers taking the lion's share while the trusted professional receives 20-25 cents in the dollar that the client is producing. They are seeing that there is a world out there that cares about them and their success as well as their clients.
In my humble opinion, within three years, 50 per cent of the industry is going to be independent or non-aligned. Do the institutions care? No, as they have been planning to go direct for some time and cut those annoying advisers who won't sell their product out.
So jump on the wave with all of us excited independently-minded people who truly only have one objective – to create the world's best financial services experience with the client at the core not the product.
Santi Burridge, founder and chief executive of corporate development for Implemented Portfolios
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