Weekend Digest for Financial Planners/Advisers & Paraplanners (30th & 31st March)

 

Welcome to  this Weekend Digest!  In this edition, we look at interesting industry developments, including  the subject of tax on fund rebates and a piece on auto-enrolment. As the FSA morphs into the FCA, we look at what is on the new regulator’s radar and in order to end on a positive note, we end with an article on content marketing.

Click on the title to read the full article (opens new window.) Enjoy…

 

Fund Rebates, Dirty Tricks and Taxes

Platforms are back in the news this week,  after the HMRC announced on Monday that rebates from fund managers to clients will be subject to income tax.  This is due to start as early as the 6th of April this year, giving advisers and platforms very little room, if any, for maneuver.

There are a few articles out there on the subject but if like us, you prefer to hear it from the horse’s mouth, including the treatment of offshore bond, you can read the HMRC guide on the subject here.

It’ s very interesting to see that StandardLife and Skandia – probably the only two platforms who do not offer any clean share classes whatsoever – are now pulling a ‘dirty’ trick by lobbying fund managers for ‘special clean share classes.’ I think clean just got dirtier!

In the meantime, TISA is lobbying the HMRC to delay implementation,  after revealing  that the changes will cost platforms £15m! With the deadline just a week away, let us all hold our breath and wish TISA goodluck. They are going to need it!

 

Auto-Enrolment, Consultancy Charging and the Next Pension Scandal

 This piece in PensionsWorld by Ros Altmann looks at the risk that consultancy charging on auto-enroled members could become the next big scandal and urged The Pensions Regulator and The FCA to act.

Nothing is new about the core of her argument: it’s the employer who is getting advice on auto-enrolment, but members are having to foot the bill. Workers are rarely aware of these fees and have no control whatsoever over what they pay.

She also pointed out that there is no requirement on ‘consultants’ to be qualified or regulated (although some of them are.)

“These fees are being paid to ‘consultants’ who are advising the employer on setting up their pension scheme.  Although the consultants are paid out of the workers’ pensions, the employees themselves usually get nothing for it.  Worse still, because the advice is being given to a firm and not an individual, the usual regulatory protections do not apply.  These consultants are not even required to having any standard qualifications and are not covered by the normal regulatory protections’ she wrote

I think this presents huge opportunities for advisers who are off-course ‘ qualified and regulated‘ to offer propositions that tackles some of the issues raised in this article. This may include offering low-cost advice to members or charging the employer directly.

 

What’s On The FCA’s  Radar?
This article  by Sam Dalein in MoneyMarketing looks at the first annual Risk Outlook published by the FCA, which gives an indication of the areas of focus for the new regulator.

The most relevant ones to advisers are  the issue of complex charging structures among advisers and monitoring the progress on RDR. The FCA is launching a review into fund charges and will continue to monitor adviser charging.

Others include bank sales incentive schemes,  interest-only mortgages and Price comparison websites.

 

Content Marketing : First, Be Helpful, Then Sell

This article by Kirk Hulett in AdvisorOne looks at most effective way to content market: providing your target market relevant information that furthers their buying decision without talking about how you specifically can fulfill that need.

 
“At the core of content marketing is, well, content, and in today’s multimedia world that can take any number of forms: articles, video, audio, graphics and infinite combinations thereof. The point is to provide the prospect information that educates, entertains or otherwise engages your prospect. Your ability to deliver that content builds your credibility with the prospect, connects them to your message and leads them to select you as their advisor.” He wrote

People can smell a sales pitch a mile away and are easily turned off. The answer is to take the sales smell off the bait and get your prospect closer.

Hulett provides a step-by-step guide to getting your content marketing efforts off the ground including;

  1. Decide how often your are going to publish
  2. Choose a format and stick to it: Blogs, newsletter, video etc
  3. How will you generate content   Purchase an off-the-shelf content service, hire someone to create custom content for you; or DIY
  4. Measure success
Oh and Just Do It!
I hope you have enjoyed this and hopefully it’ll make you job a little easier! As outsourced paraplanners, that’s what we do best! As usual, thoughts and comments are welcome. Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abraham Okusanya
Director
Abraham is the founder of FinalytiQ, a research consultancy for platforms, asset managers, and advisory firms. Recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in retirement income, platforms and investment propositions, Abraham has authored several papers on these subjects and delivered talks to the Personal Finance Society, The FCA and several conferences across the country.

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