PFS president Sarah Lord reflects on a challenging year and reveals her plan for helping the profession create a sustainable future
It is a honour to be writing as the president of our Society, although, at the start of 2020, never did I think I would be writing this from my new found ‘safe space’ of home. Home is the place that, like many of you I am sure, I have lived and worked for more than six months.
We, as a profession, have had to adapt and change as quickly as possible. It has been said that we have seen five years of change in five months and, while it has been challenging for all, I truly believe it is change for the good. For some, it may be hard to imagine now, but I am confident that in years to come we will still be talking about the impact of Covid-19 on shaping our profession for the better, in much the same way we still reference back to the impact that the Retail Distribution Review had.
The pandemic has – and will continue to have – a profound impact not only on our profession but on wider society and the economy. Now more than ever, our clients and society need support around their personal finances, which is why I am so passionate about my theme for the year of ‘building a strong and sustainable future for our profession’. We need to focus on how we continue to come together as a united profession to not just survive but thrive for many years to come.
Sustainability is not just about attracting, developing and retaining talent – it is also about sustaining relationships with our clients of today
For me, the focus of building a strong and sustainable business is predicated on three core themes:
- Promotion of the profession to the next generation of adviser.
- Sustainability of our client relationships.
- Resilient business models that adapt to the changing needs of our clients.
I am passionate about promoting financial planning as a profession and providing the right environment to train and develop the next generation of financial planners. Our Aspire Apprenticeship programme is a great way to attract new talent while providing opportunities for school leavers, who have been hit so hard by the pandemic.
Sustainability is not just about attracting, developing and retaining talent – it is also about sustaining relationships with our clients of today. One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is transitioning client relationships from adviser to adviser. I am keen that during my year as president, we start to share more good practice on how to do this, to deliver an amazing client experience. I would love to hear your experiences of how within your businesses you tackle this to provide the next-generation adviser with the opportunity to build their own personal relationships with clients, while also providing clients with reassurance that they will continue to have the trusted relationship they have come to rely on.
This year has been tough for all of us, but by uniting to focus on thriving rather than just surviving, we have a real opportunity to drive the strength and sustainability of our profession. Please reach out to me with any ideas you have around the topic of sustainability in our profession and what you feel we, the PFS, can be doing more of to support you as members on this issue.
Sarah Lord is president of the PFS