Last week, Apricity hosted their most recent GROW event, focusing on Professional Development. During their GROW events, the team invite industry speakers to present on a variety of different topics in order to stimulate some thoughts from our listeners.

Kicking off the Professional Development session was Apricity’s own Christian Markwick, who translated the regulator’s ‘Product Governance’ to ensuring that clients are in products that are suitable to their needs, knowledge & experience and risk tolerance. ‘PROD’ is a hot topic for us across the whole of The Verve Group, not just within Apricity, and Christian spends lots of time with firms discussing their PROD and the requirement for firms. Christian explained how we often see a ‘one size fits all approach’, which leaves some clients under-serviced and others over-serviced. It also doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the segmentation within firms which therefore leads us (and the regulator) to question the suitability of the firm’s PROD, service proposition and furthermore their Centralised Investment Proposition.

Making his way to the tee next was James Bird from Fidelity International and his ‘Roaring 2020s’ topic. Through this, he highlighted some of the similarities we have seen over the COVID pandemic, with that of 100 years ago. We’re yet to see the resurrection of The Great Gatsby parties, but there’s still time (maybe our own 2019 Gatsby themed Christmas party was an omen)! Now, as we all, know ‘past performance is not an indication of future performance, the value of your investments may go down as well as up’, James however, listed some very important recent trends; including the market behaviour over century apart pandemics, inflation and individuals’ savings. He then jumped back and drew parallels to times of late and how the top performers of markets have drifted from sectors to countries and then to big tech.

Finally, we heard from Justin Corliss from Royal London, where he talked about everything CIP related (not to be confused with SIPPs!) and Drawdown. James discussed the recent trends of DD and how most clients take their tax-free cash, then delay taking an income until much later on in life. He discussed the complexity of charges that clients are usually left puzzling at on their statements and brought up the all-important issue of if a client could know-how ‘competitive’ their fees really are. Within Apricity we see many files and have seen many provider illustrations and we can echo the frustrations advisers have with this. You may have also seen in our recent Eclipse bulletin where we focused on the service advisers are receiving from providers.

Catch up on our GROW event here.

Maddie Delboy – Compliance Support