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Adviser firm ‘distillation’ will lead to purer industry

Pete Matthew, managing director, Jacksons Wealth Management expects further consolidation among adviser firms in 2015 and says advisers should not fear online advice portals

The introduction of the RDR two years ago prompted some advisers to make their exit and I expect we will see further consolidation in the market over the coming 12 months. This ‘distillation’ process will lead to a much purer industry and provide greater opportunities for those well established, good quality local firms left standing.

I’m very excited about the prospects and opportunities for 2015, not least the changes to the pension rules due in April. As an industry we are constantly having to evolve and keep pace with legislative changes and the impact they will have on our clients; these new rules will provide greater scope and opportunity for both existing and prospective clients and will add a new dimension to retirement planning.

Much has been made of the fact that online services will compete with advisers going forwards, but I do not think this will be the case. For those clients who do not wish to see an adviser in person but want to understand what the changes to legislation may mean for them, the growing number of online advice portals will help. We should view the growth in awareness of financial planning as a positive step and not one that will encroach on our business as we serve two very different audiences. What we have to do, however, is improve our own online communication. The firms that make the most of online methods to engage with their clients will be the ones to stand out next year.

The real challenge we face is the sheer dearth of talent. It is an industry-wide issue, but one that is considerably more difficult for firms like us located outside of the major financial centres. We need to create a better entry route into the business, through the use of graduate programmes, to attract younger generations to this profession. Without sufficient talent, it will become much more difficult for firms to grow.

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