It’s All About “The Product”, Stoopid!

Values to Vision Financial Planning Ltd recently moved offices to the swanky commuter village that is Radlett, Herts, on historic Watling Street.

Nearby is another firm of Independent Financial Advisers. One of their advisers is revising hard to pass exams by the end of 2012; if he does this, he can continue to trade; if not, he can’t. Simples, eh? It’s all to do with the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) – please Google this if you want to find out more. It’s pretty tedious stuff.

In a moment of weakness I deigned to look over the pre-exam case study this adviser was sweating over. It was a depressing experience.

Matura (oral part) - during exam (Czech).

Why?

The case study consisted of a regurgitated “fact-find”: all the hard financial data that advisers make clients leach out under a hot lamp in a locked room (ah, the memories…). The exam questions test whether or not the adviser is competent in addressing the gaps said fact-find thus revealed.

Not, of course,  the really important “gaps”. You know, those central-as-to-why-we-live-and-breath kind of gaps, revealing the client’s real goals, aspirations, dreams.

No, we’re talking about the gaps that needed – nay, begged –  to be filled by “product”! Client doesn’t have a pension according to the fact-find? Then he needs a pension! Client doesn’t have an Investment ISA according to the fact-find? Then he needs an ISA!

Which leaves me to posit three exam questions of my own (don’t panic, there are no right or wrong answers lest we be judgemental) :

  1. To clients: would you take a prescription from a doctor who hadn’t done a proper diagnosis?
  2. To the financial advice sector: have we learnt nothing?
  3. To the people who write these exams: you do know this is 2012,  not 1992?
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Comments

  • Beaky  On 26 January 2012 at 20:39

    Quite the comedian aren’t we noodle. In all seriousness I think we should talk about a stand up double act taking the p**s out of all this stuff. We could be enjoying ourselves on the comedy circuit instead of working for a living. Catch up soon, Beaky

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