Even sadder is the undeniable fact that such associations often derive from and are perpetuated by some within the industry itself – and not, as some may assume, by the mainstream press which as we all know enjoys ‘taking a pop’ at all elements of the finance world whenever possible.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that some in the advisory industry are actively seeking to knock other companies’ service, products and, shockingly, even individual members, in order to gain an advantage in the market.
Believing competition is healthy, this ‘business tactic’ of talking others down is something that I utterly reject and would never practice.
Perhaps this tendency is a sign of the times as some struggle with the knock-on effects of a challenging economic situation, the growing number of international advisers, and/or the sweeping regulatory changes.
Whatever the motivation, it is damaging and it should stop as it undermines clients’ trust and confidence in the entire industry, which we as advisers all have a stake in.
In this regard, we need to learn lessons from the mistakes of the banking sector, which was, before it became tarnished by some within it, a highly-respected and valued industry.
We cannot allow our sector to be dragged down that same tawdry path, as trust and confidence are two critical factors in the advisory world. Without them, we risk that people would not use the services of our industry, meaning that they would miss out on the real, tangible benefits that financial planning brings.
Energy used to malign any competition to get ahead, should instead be channelled into working with regulators to improve the marketplace, upskilling advisers, investing in qualifications, new technologies and products, establishing key alliances, and expanding into new and/or emerging, dynamic regions.
This positive direction will help fill a void created by the public’s mistrust of banks and it will, unquestionably, benefit clients who, due to the tough and fast-changing economic climate are more in need than ever of sound financial advice. And, naturally, this in turn will reward advisers and the industry itself too.
Mike Coady is director of the deVere Group