It’s now just over a year since PIMFA came into being as a result of the merger between the Wealth Management Association (WMA) & the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) in June 2017, uniting the two memberships into one strong voice representing our profession.
Our resulting combined vision for our industry, described in our Member’s Manifesto, was launched at the House of Commons on June 19, setting out our five-year approach to creating an optimal future environment within which our member firms can more fully meet their client’s needs and to promoting our industry as a force for good. It also lays out our calls and commitments for industry and its stakeholders to develop robust and thriving retail investment markets, encompassing appropriate and proportional regulation that individuals, families, charities and others can access easily to benefit from the services they offer.
The current environment has in the last year been characterised by two things above all – Brexit, with all that it entails, and the largest regulatory load to land in this sector for 20-odd years, during both of which we have continued to represent the sector in lobbying, recommending and leading policy and regulatory thinking.
Our research initiatives, such as the Millennial Forum and the Financial Adviser Market in Numbers (FAMIN) Report, continue to inform the debate as to current and future trends, enabling our members to fully understand the issues of both client retention and the development of strategies designed to engage with the generations to come.
One of the major challenges of our time is cyber and financial crime. In the UK, this is now estimated to cost every man, woman and child in the country in excess of £100 per year, and the Global Cyber Alliance predicted at our Financial Crime Conference in January that the global cost of this type of crime will hit $2 trillion by 2019 – a threefold increase from 2015. Tackling this prospect is addressed by one of the six pillars in our manifesto – enabling business protection through data protection and cyber resilience – as well as the publication of 14 useful guides on our newly-upgraded website. We are working closely with our members to raise awareness of what solutions currently exist and how a culture of prevention can be incorporated into an overall sector digital strategy fit for the future.
Our on-going public policy and pensions work is continuing apace. Our primary focus for the coming months will be to work alongside other stakeholders to ensure that the right balance is found between the underlying principles of freedom and choice, and the obvious protection that certain consumers will require at the point of retirement through the Financial Conduct Authority‘s Retirement Outcomes Review work.
While Brexit still dominates the political landscape, and will continue to do so for some time to come, the precise nature of our sector’s future remains unclear but, in a wider sense, we are committed to addressing issues as they appear and to helping our members to understand and deal with any consequences which may arise. In our Member’s Manifesto, we have set out our vision for the future of our industry and our methodology for making that vision a reality through consistent advocacy, close liaison with industry stakeholders and a vibrant and contributory membership, helping our sector to grow and prosper.