THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

Scene: The screen opens with a zoom- in shot to a man in a suit  holding a gong and a mallet. He looks down the lens of the camera and, raising the mallet, says: }

Here is the news….   { He strikes the gong with the mallet.}

[Bong] The new world has arrived and things will never be the same again.     {Pause}

[Bong] Competitive capitalism forces us to constantly improve to survive and thrive.  {Pause}

[Bong] Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but  the one  most  responsive to  change.”  {Pause}

[Bong] Tom Peters contends: “They say ‘Times are changing.’ I say ’Everything has already changed. Tomorrow is the  First Day of Your Revolution … or you’re Toast’.”   {Pause}

{As his picture fades, the screen is filled with four words in huge letters, one word after another, zooming forwards from back to front.}

 

 THIS       IS       NOT       NEWS

 

OK, dramatic fantasy over. I’ll never make a scriptwriter – it’s all been done before and much better.

There is a serious point though. We all know about the changes wrought by RDR and we all know that things won’t be the same again. We all know that the market will become more competitive and we all know that we have to be at the very top of our games to thrive.  (Thrive is a key word. Survivors don’t evolve – evolution comes from those who thrive, who embrace changes and challenges and adapt accordingly. Survivors underperform.) So why does this old fart keep banging on about it?

Well, it’s because – believe it or not – there are some people out there who don’t yet have the message. I know! No, I can hardly believe it either.

Oh they’re full of excuses. “Our business model is what our clients want”  (oh yeah?); “We’ve already changed what we do because of RDR and adopted adviser charging” (your point being….?) “We can’t do any more, compliance stops us.” (Oh, pur-leeeeease.)

Innovate, innovate, innovate – and then design. Hone your offering, create something new, then use design to make it better. (Has anyone checked out www.nutmeg.com yet?) Does your offering excite you, even though you’re familiar with it and have seen it 100, no 1,000 times before? (By the way, if the answer is ‘no’, then how do you expect others to be excited by it?)

Yes, be mindful of the need to comply – but see compliance as a positive, not a negative. Embrace it and use it to protect you. Put your arm round its shoulders and look after it – and if it’s represented by a person or people, show them your innovative idea(s) and ASK THEM “HOW DO WE DO THIS?”

Today, as I write, we see that Standard Life Wealth are concluding a deal to buy Newton’s Wealth Management arm, as part of their programme of consolidation in the discretionary sector. A the back end of last year, Quilter and Cheviot agreed to merge. Rathbone’s have a thriving financial planning business in-house. Sesame have a D2C operation.

These are what detectives – fictional or otherwise – call ‘clues’. Some may call it the thin end of the wedge – but it doesn’t matter. It’s consolidation. It’s the first steps on the road to ‘big is beautiful’ and the big guys squeezing the little guys; but big ain’t beautiful, it’s downright mean and ugly.

What is beautiful is innovation, creativity and design. What is beautiful is designing a new offering or a new process that captures your and your team’s imagination, that gives you the enthusiasm to sweep your clients off their feet and carry them along in a devil-may-care caution-to-the-winds rush that builds into an unstoppable tidal wave which finally explodes in a cloud of glorious sun-kissed, glittering spray that leaves you panting on the golden sands of a brighter and more secure future, yelling “Yee ha! What a ride!”.

Oh yes, sorry, I forgot: Here is the news – [bong] This is boring old financial services and we’re all just trying to survive…

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