2009: Vanishing of the Bees – Langworthy
As the countdown to Christmas continues and the anxiety about whether parcels from online retailers will turn up in time, many of us will be finding the tempo significantly increases in preparation for the Christmas “break”. Like busy bees many of us will be going from one task to another in the merry-go-round of shopping, wrapping and cooking. Taking a moment is now the real luxury.
As I begin to count (not really) the emailed Christmas wishes, I’m reminded that we get what we measure. Sadly many people (and organisations) measure the wrong things. In the context of financial services, our industry is awash with outrage as yet more duff companies and products that very few financial advisers sold are expected to subsidise by way of compensation. Now there is even the suggestion that UK advisers will be asked to pay compensation to Americans that invested in MF Global (whose demise I blogged about a few weeks ago). The FSCS have issued a warning that IFAs may need to find a few million more – perhaps 40, perhaps 100..we will know in the new year.
As I regularly meet with other advisers at conferences etc increasingly I am left with the impression that there will be a significant culling over the next 12 months. Many are tired of an industry that seems to only ever be wise after the event, never learns and applies rules retrospectively. There is a very real sense that only a few of us will be left standing. I want to make it clear that I intend to continue to work for my clients for many years to come. The IFA may become an endangered species – rather like the humble bee.
Bees are under serious threat and it is not really clear why. Bees play a significant and vital part in pollination (you know that). We take them for granted and tend to underestimate their importance. IFAs are not bees. I would prefer to save bees than IFAs (no contest) most IFAs are creative enough to find alternative ways to earn a living – but without bees, one begins to wonder if life would be considerably “less” and not in the sense that less is more, but less is most definitely less. Anyway, I came across this website (vanishing bees) and a new film about the plight of bees, which may be worth a look. As for IFAs – well hopefully common sense within financial services will prevail one day – though that day may be well past my time, but I certainly hope that 2012 will be a better year for investors, IFAs and bees. I doubt anyone would adopt an IFA, but you can adopt a beehive from the British Beekeepers Association.
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