This year’s challenges will be business specific rather than industry wide
Stephen Jones, chief executive officer, Cooper Parry Wealth, outlines the challenges and the opportunities he sees for his and other financial planning/adviser firms in 2015
Personally, we see a big opportunity for growth in 2015. Cooper Parry Wealth has enjoyed strong growth over the last three years and we expect this to continue.
It is important to us to invest in the development of our business and we have adopted a very modern approach to the workplace, with the introduction of different employee benefits, which we firmly believe has made Cooper Parry Wealth an attractive place to work. We have a great graduate development programme in place, which has worked very well for us and allowed us to bring new talent to the business. However, I do sympathise with companies that struggle to attract new advisers. Going forward, financial planning needs to be able to compete with the likes of accountancy and law but there are still not enough people choosing this profession. We are certainly making progress, but there is still a lot of work to do to position it as a desirable career path.
I believe a lot of the challenges for this year will be business-specific rather than industry-wide. There will always be a need to grow and finding the right type of client can be a challenge. For many years, we made the assumption that clients came to us through recommendation but we are becoming increasingly aware that we must look to develop our marketing tools. Firms will need to be much more savvy about their web and social media presence. Online tools are also slowly becoming more sophisticated and client-friendly, allowing clients to aggregate everything online.
Generally speaking, the pension rules will create a great opportunity as the new flexibility will encourage more activity and it is always useful to be able to explore more options with clients. Overall, I’m very optimistic about what 2015 holds for both the industry and our own business.