Like most readers and writers in this blog I have had countless conversations on the RDR over the years. I know that many advisers have gone through these stages. Those that have persevered and reached stage 5 now have clients at the centre of their focus and consequently a more valuable business asset. Where are you and, just as importantly, where are the other stakeholders that are important to the success of your business?
Stage 1 – Denial (“RDR is a nonsense.”)
Denial is the thing that many people start with. They’ve decided that it isn’t for them. They’re far too busy, and the rules are simply a waste of time and money. They have been in the business for years, after all they have thousands of clients. Sold millions. And some clients are even friends!
Stage 2 – Anger (“Why should caring about what clients think and need change what I do?)
I know what they need. They want me to make them rich. With no downside. I haven’t had one complaint. Well almost no complaints. Only issue is to keep those buggers from Compliance and their mates from the FSA/FCA at bay.
Stage 3 – Bargaining (“I’m only qualifying because my compliance manager said I must, and anyway (in small print) I can’t think of anything else to do that pays as well.”)
Finally, they cave in, begrudgingly study and pass the exams. Then ignore what they have learned in practice. “Written by idiots. Wouldn’t know one end of an insurance bond sale from another.”
Stage 4 – Depression (“It doesn’t make any sense.”)
For many this is the worst stage. They’ve finally made the effort, qualified and now all their fears are confirmed. They were right – RDR isn’t for them. There’s little they can make sense of. Risk profiles, investment mappings, discussions with clients and risk capacity. All nonsense! “Informed consent is for those over 18 isn’t it?”
Stage 5 – Acceptance (“Eureka, I get it!”)
Many people don’t get to this stage, abandoning their trip somewhere between bargaining and depression. But for those that do it’s totally worth it. They keep plugging away, keep reading, keep learning, keep asking questions and keep doing it. Suddenly, the light bulb goes on. And everything is illuminated.
Nobody can tell you exactly what a client centric business is, because it isn’t any one thing. You have to find out for yourself. Its your point of difference. You own it. You shape it. And you get it. It’s a beautiful moment. And often those who were the most resistant, and the most critical, become the biggest evangelists.
The next five years will be viewed by history as a period of extraordinary opportunity: professionals will be forged and fortunes created. A client centric world will be a joy to all who embrace it.