Links to articles about current events in Financial Services, our interpretation of their implications, and thoughts and practical ideas on how to tackle them.
Two recent events - the FCA consultation on Consumer Duty, and their actions regarding the British Steel Pension scheme, may look routine. But when taken together, they represent a significant shift in future regulation that has major implications for Financial Services firms.
20th Aug 2021
"Getting the best price for your advice business". We contributed to the Gunner webinar on this subject in November, and this article in Money Marketing by Richard Farr explains why improving your perceived regulatory risk can make a big difference to the price you receive.
14th Feb 2021
We've written before about the poor culture at Lloyd's, which has been commented on by the FCA. Nothing much seems to have happened. Culture is immensely difficult to change, but sometimes it is essential for survival. FCA has issued another letter about culture. Is this their last chance?
20th Nov 2020
If you want to sell your business, there are things you need to do to maximise the price you get - particularly if the book has exposure to DB transfers. We'll be contributing to a webinar run by Gunner & Co on this subject on 26th Nov. David Edwards takes the risk manager perspective of a buyer, and Andy Sutherland outlines what you can do to 'forward fix' DB transfer issues.
8th Nov 2020
Regulatory audits can become very expensive if lawyers take a combative view of regulation. As Warren Zevon once sang: "Bring Lawyers, guns and money"! A regulatory consultant with experience of working with regulators can sniff out problems rapidly, and develop cost-effective solutions.
29th Oct 2020
The Quilter acquisition of Lighthouse resulted in some nasty regulatory surprises - issues that were missed by due diligence. We explain how this can easily come about if standard practice is followed, and the small but crucial adjustments that can be made to ensure a more seamless and far more robust acquisition.
28th Aug 2020
The courage to change. Much is written about culture and the need to change it, but little about how to do it - a culture is a complex system of behaviours, beliefs and values that can't be managed rationally: it requires emotional commitment and courage. (This is a bite-sized condensation of a more thorough article that is available here.)
24th July 2020
At first glance, this week's ruling on the Carey SIPP court case seems to contradict the Judicial Review of the Berkeley Burke case. But after closer inspection, it doesn't (much). We outline our interpretation of some of the real implications for SIPP providers and what they need to do about them.
22nd May 2020
Lloyd's of London are in the news this week - they are striving to implement new IT systems and eliminate some aspects of culture (eg sexism). We explain how culture, in particular the hidden values that we wouldn't like to admit to, is largely invisible to those inside it and stubbornly resists change. It usually needs an external intervention, whether a new executive or an external agency.
13th May 2020
FCA have announced that Liberty SIPP has gone into administration. Like dealing with regulatory issues, this type of car crash can be avoided if action is taken early enough. We outline some of the options that are available, as long as regulators are on board and the business model is sound.
29th Apr 2020
A FOS adjudication makes it clear that appropriate advice has to be provided on both wrapper and the ultimate investment, even if the client 'insists' on their own investment choice. We discuss how to cope with client subjective 'wants' as well as rational 'needs' - and also explore how to manage the choice of an index for any compensation. Both issues require pragmatism and process.
21st Apr 2020
In the last article we discussed some immediate pandemic issues. Here we explore its medium and longer term implications for financial services in terms of changes to business models, and what firms can be doing now so that they are ready for the inevitable changes on the horizon.
7th Apr 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted business priorities and the way we work. There is likely to be an easing up of regulatory pressure in the short term, and this presents an opportunity to get things in order before regulatory attention returns (as it inevitably will): we discuss some of the potential actions. The pandemic also raises the issue of customer vulnerability which now, more than ever, needs to be paid attention to.
31st Mar 2020
SIPPs used to be simple propositions that could be run at fairly low cost. The boom in both pensions and subsequent regulation have changed the business model to one that that is more complex, with many relationships that need to be managed. This requires a more intelligent approach to expenses and budgets than pure cost minimisation (even if fees have to be raised).
10th Mar 2020
Golfers can easily waste money by attempting to improve their swing in an undisciplined way. Conduct culture is a more complex 'system' than a golf swing, but we can still draw some lessons about how not to waste money on it. Key elements are clarity of goals, external feedback, and expertise on the tangible changes that are most likely to be effective.
27th Feb 2020
Victor Kiam famously bought the Remington company after being impressed with its shaver. A former Telos client was so impressed by how we go about our work that he decided that we were the right choice for his future - and here he explains why.
14th Feb 2020
One SIPP firm (Avalon) has already been brought to its knees, with non-standard investments (NSIs) a core issue. Initial due diligence is needed - but also continuing oversight on investments and investment managers. A SIPP property fund (Dolphin) has become illiquid.
7th Feb 2020
Our predictions (below) about FCA focus on alternative investments are borne out by a flurry of letters asking advisers pointed questions about the subject. We explore some of the issues in more detail, in particular how the overlapping responsibilities of SIPPs and advisers can cause problems.
24th Jan 2020
New areas that the regulators are likely to focus on 2020, particularly SIPP non-standard investments (NSIs) and responsibility for investment managers. Our experience is that firms who anticipate regulatory focus and deal with it early have the smoothest ride.
21st Jan 2020