Brexit fallout, would you employ Olly Robbins?

Image_01-07-2019_at_11.30_1

I do not know him, have never met him or have any personal axe to grind but last week’s announcement that the ‘Rasputin’ of Brexit is to leave (when Theresa May leaves office) his  role as head of the European and Global Issues Secretariat, advising the Prime Minister on the EU and to oversee Brexit came as not a big surprise

Brexit has been a very toxic affair causing divisions of an unimaginable scale nationwide.

According to his Wikipedia page some interesting intelligence is gleaned, Robbins’s Brexit  role “led to some Conservative MPs blaming him for an anti-Brexit “establishment plot”, criticising him as “secretive” and comparing him to Grigori Rasputin.

A group of former military and intelligence officials associated with pro-Brexit pressure group Veterans for Britain including the former head of the Secret Intelligence Service Richard Dearlove said Robbins had “serious questions of improper conduct to answer” over defence and security co-operation between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

What was a surprise is that he is looking to follow the well-worn cabinet minister path to the City.

When a minister leaves office he or she should be subject to the Ministerial code, it sets out the standards of behaviour expected from all those who serve in Government.

The business appointment rules note that “Ministers will be prohibited from lobbying Government for two years. They must also seek advice from the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA) about any appointments or employment they wish to take up within two years of leaving office. Former Ministers must ensure that no new appointments are announced, or taken up, before the Committee has been able to provide its advice”.

The same rules apply to senior civil servants such as Olly Robbins.

But will they?

The business appointment rules for civil servants has key principles to be observed:

Integrity You must not misuse your official position, for example by using information acquired in the course of your official duties, to further your private interests or those of others.

Honesty You must not be influenced by improper pressures from others or the prospect of personal gain. 

Objectivity You must take decisions on the merits of the case. 

Impartiality You must not act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests. 

The rules note that civil servants should be able to move into other sectors, and that such movement should not be “frustrated by unjustified public concern over a particular appointment”.

But it is equally important that when a former civil servant takes up an outside appointment or employment there should be cause for justified public concern, criticism or misinterpretation.

The aim of the Rules is to avoid any reasonable concerns that:

  1. a civil servant might be influenced in carrying out his or her official duties by the hope or expectation of future employment with a particular firm or organisation, or in a specific sector; or
  2. on leaving the Civil Service, a former civil servant might improperly exploit privileged access to contacts in Government or sensitive information; or
  3. a particular firm or organisation might gain an improper advantage by employing someone who, in the course of their official duties, has had access to:
  4. information relating to unannounced or proposed developments in Government policy, knowledge of which may affect the prospective employer or any competitors; or
  1. commercially valuable or sensitive information about any competitors.

Robbins may have some fantastic commercial value but given the code constraints why would a big City firm want to employ this person in particular, given the hugely negative brand damage aura that his name could be associated with. I’m thinking here of the 52% who voted leave for a start.

Would a two year wait to head to the city be a good idea allowing the passage of time to establish what his real value may be to a prospective City employer as well as what his true cost to the nation may have been too?

Just a thought?

Guide to Marketing for Small and Medium Adviser Firms

8 Apr 2019

Guide to Marketing for Small and Medium Adviser Firms

When you run a business, especially a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) you wear many hats and one of them is the responsibility for marketing.

This can scare those who believe that marketing is a dark art of spin and promotion, when in fact it is a skill every successful business owner has in their DNA. Many do it without noticing every day.

The key is to harness this unconscious competency and ensure marketing is embedded and understood by everyone involved in manufacturing, promoting and administrating the products, solutions and services you provide clients, now and in the future.

This 82-page Guide to Marketing, written in association with Glassagh Consulting is designed to help anyone involved in running their own business gain a better understanding of what marketing is, how it can help your business and the techniques that can be used to become better marketers.

 

Guide contents

  • Twelve marketing pitfalls every business must avoid
  • What is marketing? The power of the 5 Ps
  • Your marketing plan
  • Why you need a marketing audit?
  • The right clients for your business
  • Segmentation
  • The importance of your client database
  • Your client proposition
  • Your client lifetime value
  • Creating your marketing goals
  • Marketing communications
  • Social media marketing
  • Direct Mail
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Sponsorship
  • Seminar Marketing
  • Reviewing and refining your marketing plan

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Is your Marketing working

Why choose Panacea Marketing?

Most business owners recognise they need to be doing some form of marketing if they want to develop their business.

Marketing can help you to attract more profitable clients and drive referrals. It can help you to demonstrate your unique value, show the range of services you offer and justify your fees.

These things are hard to put across without using marketing messages.

But with so many options available, choosing how to market your business can be difficult.

What should you really be doing, how should you do it, and how much should it cost?

Working in partnership with Faith Liversedge, financial marketing expert, we’ve developed a series of free marketing checklists to help you benchmark yourself against industry best practice.

Faith is also offering a number of Quick Win solutions to help you fast-track your marketing. These Quick Wins will help your business to stand out, get found and convert your target market into ideal clients.

Whether you’re marketing your business for the first time, or think your marketing could do with a boost, take a look at the below and get in touch with Faith for more information.

faithliversedge@panaceaadviser.com
07920 042240

 

Free marketing checklist

Effective marketing can help your business to become more profitable. But done wrongly it can be a waste of time, money and effort. Find out what ‘good marketing’ for financial advice firms looks like by downloading this checklist.

Download here

Free website checklist

What does your website really need to attract more visitors? What information should it include about you? How does it get on page 1 of Google? Download this checklist to find out what your website needs to be firing on all cylinders.

Download here

Free SEO checklist

SEO, or ‘search engine optimisation’, is the process of making sure your website is set up correctly so that search engines like Google can rank you favourably. Does your website have what it takes? Find out by downloading this checklist.

Download here

Free blogging checklist

What should you blog about? What should it include to make sure it gets found and read by the right people? This checklist will tell you what you need for an effective blogging strategy.

Download here

 

Quick Wins

30-minute consultation call

Book a 30-minute call with Faith. She’ll tell you at least 3 things you can do to improve your marketing right now.

Cost: £75 + Vat

 

Digital Marketing Report

This 6-page document will give you a detailed technical analysis of your website and social media profiles so you can find out what’s really going on behind the scenes.

It will analyse your:

  • Keywords
  • Traffic
  • User behaviour
  • Sales funnel
  • Technical performance
  • Content

£300 + Vat

 

Video

Having a video brings your brand bang up to date. It helps your clients to engage with your message, gives you something to send to introducers, and to use at seminars and events.

Video also helps your Google rankings: you’re 50 times more likely to show up first if you have a video embedded on your site.*

Faith will supply your own-branded video that is easily uploaded to your website. Choose from:

  • What is financial planning?
  • What is a Chartered Financial Planner?
  • This is how life happens

£595 + Vat

*Source: Moovley, April 2018

 

Client segmentation + marketing strategy

Client segmentation, done correctly, is the most effective way to identify the clients who can provide you with the most profit going forward. And those who won’t.

It’s now also a compliance requirement, particularly in terms of MiFID II and PROD 3.3.

Client segmentation, coupled with a marketing plan, will enable your business to move forward.

This solution will enable you to:

  • Demonstrate to the FCA you’re providing appropriate services and investment solutions
  • Take the guesswork out of your marketing
  • Build long-term client value

£1,500 + Vat

 

Book now

To take advantage of any of these opportunities contact Faith Liversedge on

faithliversedge@panaceaadviser.com 
07920 042240

 

About Faith

Faith is an experienced communicator with a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the adviser profession.

She was Marketing Manager at Nucleus for 5 years, creating innovative and award-winning campaigns. Before that she worked for Standard Life, Prudential and Royal London.

In 2017 she set up her own consultancy to help forward-thinking financial advisers and planners to become more profitable through websites, communications and other laser-focused marketing techniques.

Find out more at www.faithliversedge.com

We don’t need no stinking badges. Oh yes you do, now

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

23 May 2019

We don’t need no stinking badges. Oh yes you do, now

CMC’s are about to have some insights into what regulatory reality should be about.

The word from ‘Endeavour Square is that “We will be out, and we are starting to think which firms we’re going to visit in the next days and weeks.”.

Many will be aware of all the work done since July 2012 with the MoJ’s Kevin Roussell by Alan Lakey and I to root out this scourge. Sadly for Kevin he died just before his work went live.

To assist the FCA with their thinking we have set up a ‘whistle-blower’ form so that the hundreds of advisers who have been on the receiving end of some appalling behaviour can assist the FCA in the search for ‘bad actors’ as they transition from regulatory fantasy to regulatory reality.

In particular we will expect them to look at those firms where there is a consistency of badness. If any of you have taken them to court to recover costs do note this.

The form is short, but we would expect you to give some comments that can cite specific case names and dates. We would appreciate your name, but this will be redacted from the submission to the FCA.

You only need to complete the fields with * next to them but it would help us if you include your personal details should we have any queries. Please be assured that your submission will be kept confidential and we will not share your contact details with anyone in relation to this matter.

Name:
Company:
Email:
PPI Claims Management Company*
PPI CMC Web Address*:
Comments/Details:

Trains, planes and phone awareness month?

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

8 May 2019

Trains, planes and phone awareness month?

Have phones at work become the new ‘smoking in the workplace’

Mobiles are everywhere today, you cannot escape them. In the office, on the train, in the street, the office, airplanes, the underground, cinema, restaurants, theatre, gym, sauna.  My latest encounter was only last week, a steam room at my gym where the texting user when asked if it was appropriate to have a mobile in such a place advised me it was ‘waterproof’, an amazing example of not getting the consideration for others point.

Even the delivery room is not out of bounds. Constance Hall snapped back at ‘mummy shamers’, who said that it was ‘poor parenting’ for her to be on her phone!

The streets are being walked by individuals in a zombie like trance, gazing in thrall at screen content- a book, an e mail, a movie. Even mothers with babies in prams and pushchairs are not exempt. And in some cases, sadly, death has followed.

A recent RAC Report on Motoring revealed a significant increase in the number of drivers admitting to using a mobile phone at the wheel. According to the report, between 2014 and 2016 this figure has risen from 8% to 31%. Regardless of the reason, any distraction behind the wheel can lead to accidents, severe injuries and car write offs.

In January this year, the Trump White House issued a new ruling banning the use of personal cellular devices in the West Wing, citing security concerns

From what I see on my way to meetings around the country, mobile device dependency is so bad that the use of phones is almost the equivalent corporate time waste of office smokers who regularly decamp for a puff at the expense of their non-smoking co-workers although I guess some multi-tasking with phone and fag could occur.

I would be the first to declare that I have an iPhone and iPad (in BBC speak, other devices are available) but I yearn for some considered quiet time to be extended to those around you who get caught up in this mobile use tennis match. Consideration is something that seems to be asked for by way of signage but never acted upon.

Train journeys are a nightmare, even in so-called quiet carriages. You are never more than a seat away from some very important individual shouting down a phone. Along with their loud summaries of the most important business deal ever done by anyone, anywhere, anytime, conversations also contain stock phrases like ’I am on the train’, ‘Sorry, I just went through a tunnel’, must be a dead spot’, ‘can you e mail me that’, ‘sorry can you say that again’ and of course, I think we were just cut-off.

The conversations often contain corporate buzz phrases like:

  • At the end of the day
  • Meghan will take the lead on this
  • Big data
  • Clickbait
  • Freemium
  • Gamification
  • Colin will be having a 360
  • Hyperlocal
  • Ideation
  • KPI
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Pain points
  • Second-screen
  • Ecosystem
  • Better run this with the scrum master
  • Start building consensus
  • We’re working in silos here…….

That’s enough for now, I could go on, perhaps you may wish to add some that irritate below?

“Distracted walking” incidents, according to the National Safety Council“are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. According to the USA Governors Highway Safety Association report, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017. This number mirrors 2016 fatalities”

We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety – and the safety of others – at risk.

The solution: Think about your surroundings and those around you. Stop using phones while driving, walking, in the gym, spa, climbing stairs, getting off trains, buses and planes, on road crossings too. Amazingly over half of so called distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings, whether they’re new or familiar.

We have all sorts of ‘awareness’ days, weeks or months, has the time has come to have a ‘awareness’ month for not using a mobile device for calls, texts and e mailing in ALL public places?

Just a thought.

Panacea is delighted to introduce MyDocSafe

Technology news for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

1 Apr 2019

Panacea is delighted to introduce MyDocSafe
Customer portals are fast becoming a must-have piece of cloud infrastructure that can speed up your work, improve customer experience and reduce your compliance risk.
MyDocSafe is a UK-based provider of a sophisticated portal platform, ideal for IFAs. From electronic signatures, client onboarding, through secure document sharing, form filling, and even chat, MyDocSafe helps automate and secure critical document exchange and approval processes and help IFAs comply with GDPR.
Pricing starts at just £10 per month + VAT for sole practitioners.
  • All price plans include unlimited e-signatures and customer portals.
  • Ensure no disruption to your business
  • You can continue to use the same risk analysis for your clients

Features

  • Cloud document management system
  • Client portals with embedded chat, e-forms, e-signature and customisable widgets
  • Advanced electronic signature with document broadcasting, mail-merge, reminders, and 2-factor authentication
  • Automatic filing and full audit trail.
  • Onboarding automation (e-form, e-sign, ID check, dd mandate or cc payment)
  • Integrates with Outlook, Salesforce, GoCardless, Stripe, Onfido and Dropbox
  • Robust API for further integrations
  • GDPR: built-in data mapping tool; all data remains in the EU
  • Outlook plugin for easy sending of documents for approval, for publishing them to client portals directly from email and for encrypting communication
  • White label option available
  • Mobile apps for notifications, document upload/viewing and e-signature.

Benefits

  • Sign up clients faster
  • Improve GDPR compliance
  • Secure client data
  • Manage complex customer relationships
  • Automate onboarding of customers, employees, or investors.
  • Minimise admin time
  • Reduce time to revenue
  • Flexible pricing based on client volume or transaction volume
  • Persistent portals improve customer loyalty

FOS compensation hike. Hand me the black cap, will you

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

20 Mar 2019

FOS compensation hike. Hand me the black cap, will you.

We highlighted in November the need for firms to respond to an FCA consultation on a proposed FOS compensation limit hike of 200k taking the maximum  pay-out to £350k.

It was announced with very little time to respond.The consultation opened 16 Oct and closed 21 Dec so slightly over two months.

Just one hundred firms, including Panacea responded.

Rory Percival commented in our LinkedIn discussion that “100 is a fairly typical response rate, more than many consultations, and hardly the fault of the FCA. Don’t get me wrong; I have serious reservations about the result but to suggest the process is unfair is in itself unfair”.

The FCA said that “proposed changes to the ombudsman service’s award limit will ensure more complainants receive fair compensation when the ombudsman service upholds their complaint against a firm”.

At Panacea, we believe that this will see the end of smaller IFA firms due to impossible capital adequacy requirements caused by higher excesses to deal with £350k claims and a PI market that just will not want to play.

It will be the end of anyone looking to start a new firm because of capital adequacy constraint.

It will mean that PI premiums will get so high that only the largest firms could afford it.

And, you guessed it, more firms falling into FSCS default with fewer firms being left to pay the increasing calls for cash.

Truly, this is the industry, sorry profession, that will destroy itself.

Why have they done this, or is it an April Fool a bit early?

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey reckons that: “Consumers and small businesses struggle with the cost and time needed to take firms to court, so it is essential they can receive fair compensation from the FOS when things go wrong.

And then, that now sickeningly often used regu-speak:

“We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received and believe our approach is right”.

Really? What feedback and from who?

The consultation period was very short. The implementation date just weeks later.

My view at the time of the consultation announcement, possibly quite wrong, was that the outcome was already decided and the consultation was to make sure that the process appeared to be correctly followed.

100 respondents is pretty poor and in itself an indication of the adviser community’s lack of trust and openness in a flawed system. Historically, I cannot think of any consultation that that has seen an outcome that was contra to what either the Treasury, consumer groups or the regulator wanted.

We were right regarding the outcome, this was not a consultation at all.

Rory Percival reckoned, again in our LinkedIn discussion, that “just because the FCA didn’t agree with responses, it doesn’t mean it didn’t consider the issues appropriately or that its approach was unfair”.

This sounds a lot like Lord Meltchett’s Court Martial of Blackadder.

Blackadder’s court martial was, shall we say, less than fair. Lord Melchett was the judge and Darling the prosecution. Meltchett opens the case by saying, “The case before us is that of the Crown versus Captain Edmund Blackadder, alias the Flanders Pigeon Murderer. Oh, and hand me the black cap, will you – I’ll be needing that.” 

Now that’s consultation?

I rest my case.