by Tony Vidler
New rules and regs are coming everywhere you look, and the uncertainty level amongst advisers is just about at an all time high. The most common question in the business that people like myself are being asked is “what should I do?”
Get clear about what you want from your business. That’s the answer.
Uncertainty is the killer. That is what causes stress, and waste, and inefficiency and lost opportunity. Most advisers seem to think change is what is causing those things, but it is really uncertainty.
Change isn’t the problem. Change is normal…it happens to us, and around us, and because of us every single day. Change is not threatening and change is not a concern really. Change is the constant state of the universe we have always inhabited.
I have taken to referring to one of Carl Richard’s superb drawings again in recent times as we work through the issues of great uncertainty in the face of more yet-to-be-detailed-regulatory changes:
The problem is a lack of clarity by practitioners on what sort of business it is they wish to build. It is “unclear goals” that is the problem.
The answer to figuring out what any proposed changes mean for you, and what you should do about them, lies in getting absolutely clear about what it is you want your business to look like and what it is you want your business to achieve.
If we begin from the premise that your business should be founded and structured to deliver what it is that its owners want, then it becomes a lot easier to figure out what an appropriate response is to changes in licensing or advice requirements. If for instance you want a business that simply delivers a consistent income and a lot of time off to play golf or sit on a beach, then building a business which is minimalist in advice and product lines and which can create a lot of similar transactions with a reasonable profit margin each time is a good thing. That sort of business might be called a “factory” by others in the industry, but who cares? If it is delivering solutions in a manner which part of the market wants and at a price they feel reasonable AND it delivers the outcome that the practitioner wants from their business, then that strikes me as a very good thing to do.
Another practitioner may need high levels of professional challenge and personal fulfilment from delivering clever bespoke solutions to complex problems. They will be heading down a very different path in terms of the type of practice they look to build and how they respond to regulatory change.
Neither business model in these two simple examples is “good” or “bad”. Neither is “right” or “wrong” – other than one will be right for some, and wrong for others.
The first step in handling your particular regulatory uncertainty really is getting clear about what sort of business it is that you want to be building.
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