2012 is set to be a dynamic year in the financial advisory sector. With the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR) coming into effect in December 2012, IFAs have to up the ante with standardised professional qualifications and increased transparency of charges and services. With time running out to comply, it is not a matter of when, but how to prepare for RDR. In fact I recently attended FIMA Europe in London which echoed this trend. Post-RDR preparation is the number one priority for internal investment within asset management and advisory firms next year.
The requirements of RDR have also meant that companies’ sales and marketing teams are demanding precise and timely investment product information to support new distribution channels. This includes having in depth information at their fingertips to develop slicker, more accurate and timely product sheets. This helps to build the level of investor trust and enhance client service by ensuring consistency of information across a company’s website and its product data sheets.
Therefore arming financial advisers and asset managers with real-time accessibility of fund product information is the first step needed to demonstrate the necessary transparency required for RDR. Putting in place a platform that gives investors a current product view is essential. This platform must be able to pull up-to-date, accurate data immediately. It also lays the groundwork to build the level of client trust. The companies that have invested in intelligent communications infrastructure and platforms will be the ones better positioned to stay ahead in a highly competitive market.
Ultimately, taking a forward-looking approach to RDR will be paramount. My advice? Putting the right risk mitigation and regulatory compliance tools in place ensures effective data governance, builds client trust and importantly helps maintain a competitive edge.