Challenges Ahead: Financial Advisers And A New Consumer Duty

The Duty will include requirements for firms to end rip-off charges and fees.

The FCA’s Consumer Duty will lead to a major shift in financial services | FCA – PS22/9 12.9

By the end of October 2022 (UK) adviser firms’ “boards” should agree implementation plans (PS22/9 12.9). What should financial advisers be thinking about for the next three months?

CP21/13: A new Consumer Duty of May 2021 (updated) stated firms must consider outcomes for different groups (4.96). Servicing fees charged as a percentage of the product’s value are NOT automatically assumed to be fair value (4.97). And firms are expected to amend prices accordingly (4.102).

See FCA Calls Time on Unfair Adviser Charges – Academy of Life Planning

Advisers have until end of October to make plans and July 2023 to implement them.

The rules:

“Firms offering the same charging structure to all consumers may also not provide fair value. Whilst it may often be fair to do this, it may not always be fair where, for example, servicing fees are charged as a percentage of the value of a product (this might be in relation to the size of a loan, investments, or savings). Some consumers may pay substantially larger fees in this way even though the costs of providing the service and the benefits consumers receive may be very similar. In such circumstances, firms should consider whether the relationship of the price such consumers would pay is reasonable relative to the benefits they receive.”

PS22/9 and FG22/5 section 7.41 refer.

PS22/9: A new Consumer Duty | FCA

FG22/5: Final non-Handbook Guidance for firms on the Consumer Duty (fca.org.uk)

Example Different Groups:

Consider Consumer A £1m client & Consumer B £100k client.

If the charge is 3% initial and 1% per annum.

Consumer A pays £30,000 and £10,000 per annum.

Consumer B pays £3,000 and £1,000 per annum.

What does a product distributor do? What value-adding service do they provide?

Acting on your behalf. Manage your portfolio. Recommends portfolios (regulated stuff).

Consider the overall value chain (platform + funds + advice) and the higher overall fee

The charge:

IFA selecting a portfolio for me (1%) + unnecessary fund platform (50bps) + active fund manager (75bps) = 225bps. Plus, buying the market costs 25bps. Total 250bps per annum.

Consumer A pays £25,000 per annum.

Consumer B pays £2,500 per annum.

Ten times more than buying in the market directly 25bps per annum.

Market Direct:

Consumer A Pays £2,500 per annum.

Consumer B pays £250 per annum.

But the value add from managing your portfolio is not ten times better. And certainly not one-hundred times better!

99% of portfolio managers fail to beat the market. There is no value added here.

Higher prices can be attributed to higher costs to you in delivering the service. The cost of recommending portfolios can be variable, but there is a great deal of fixed cost in there too.

A helpful test would probably be to look at expenditure and split it into fixed and variable costs by assets managed for the client. And produce a Fixed Fee + Variable Fee pricing structure.

But at the end of the day, portfolio management is commoditised. Any significant fee for portfolio management services charged by advisers might fail the value-assessment test.

“Managing money for clients is simply one of the tools in your kit bag – it is not what you do.” – Brett Davidson.

Relationship management is outside the FCA’s perimeter guidance (unless provided to conduct regulated activity). In other words, the other stuff you do that adds value is not a regulated activity!

What does an Advice-only Financial Planner do?

Here’s the list of some things that advice-only financial planners do that add value to clients …

  • Educates you on how to buy the market direct for 25bps.
  • Educates you on behavioural bias and holding low-cost auto-rebalancing well-diversified multi-asset funds. Vanguard calls’ Adviser Alpha’, which is around 3% per year in their calculation of investment value-added, Advisers Alpha | Vanguard UK Professional
  • Get involved in tax planning, general pensions advice, wills, estate planning, life goals and lifetime cashflows. Saving them time. Cutting through any jargon. Providing a clearer understanding of their choices.
  • Calculating a financial target, they can work towards
  • Validating a target that they’ve come up with themselves
  • Education on products, general explanations of features and benefits
  • Providing an expert second opinion – on asset strategies (not products)
  • Keeping them on track and aligned with their real-life goals
  • Removing the emotional pain or fear about a financial decision
  • Or helping them manage their emotional baggage around money
  • Plus, intangible value added, the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone has your back covered.

Once you realise you are in the relationship management business, many things become clear.

Cashflow modelling becomes central to your proposition because it allows clients to see for themselves live on screen the impact of their choices or decisions, deepening engagement and buy-in.

Doing the right thing by clients in all situations is central to creating a relationship based on trust and keeping clients for life.

Your fees are unrelated to anything other than keeping clients focused on what matters and helping them achieve their life goals as best you can.

This help is your real value. 

And the price you pay?

Fixed fee. Related to your time spent managing the relationship and providing education and in proportion to the cost to you from delivering the service. Each year.

Different outcomes for different groups must not produce price discrimination. Consumer A and Consumer B fees should be reasonable relative to the benefits they each receive.

There are no ad valorem asset costs to an advice-only financial planning firm. It cannot be reasonable for Consumer A to be charged ten times the price of Consumer B when they both receive the same service.

For those light-touch years, provide a tracking progress system, for example, a Netflix-style subscription service. An end-user app, educational videos, and newsletters.

See, HapNav, the world’s first customer-directed Open banking-powered financial planning application. Register www.hapnav.com. Free to planner, £6.99/month for end-user (free 30- day trial). Moneyhub partners with Envizage for financial planning first — Moneyhub

If we are in the buy and forget phase, typically accumulated years, the client will not need much service. In decumulation, the client may need your help year by year. Life events also generate planning work.

A fee that is the same every year could fail value assessment.

Fake reviews won’t cut the mustard.

A fee for no service will fail value assessment.

Get planning your strategy, and be ready with your plans by October.

If you deliver these advice-only financial planning services with a view to recommending portfolios, all of your activity is regulated, and subject to a New Consumer Duty.

If you are interested in setting up an Advice-only Financial Planning firm and want my help, please email me at steve.conley@aolp.co.uk.

How To Navigate Happiness: A low-cost approach that everyone can afford

HapNav provides a cashflow baseline for every user to just set up and take away on their own for a few years.

“Growth forward is made possible by the feeling of being safe, of operating out into the unknown from a safe home port, of daring because retreat is possible.”

– Richard Barrett, A new psychology of human well-being.

Do you want to take care of yourself and your loved ones?

Do you want to be happy?

Here’s the thing …

If you cannot take care of yourself and your loved ones, it won’t be easy to be happy.

We feel anxious and fearful when we cannot meet our deficiency needs. Those needs are to have enough money, to be loved, and to be recognised. Once our deficiency needs are met, we no longer pay much attention to them. We can start to focus on the pursuit of happiness.

An advice-only financial plan must meet our deficiency needs and our growth needs.

This article concerns planning to meet survival needs, have enough money, and not outlive your capital. Our other articles explain how to plan for well-being in the other areas.

When you have little to no savings, you need to plan to make money. Advice-only financial planners show you how to make money, whereas old-school financial planners show you how to save money you’ve already made.

If you have little or no savings, old-school financial planners will not be interested in talking to you as they cannot figure out how you will pay their fees.

That is because they can only plan one person at a time. And their time costs money. A lot of money. And you can’t afford them. And in any case, they’ve only got plans to save money you’ve already made to tap into for their fees. So, you can’t even go there.

Advice-only financial planners cost the same as old-school financial planners. The difference is they can plan groups of people. They can even create learning content for you to download and distance learning for thousands of people. This type of financial planning is accessible to all at a fraction of the price.

Because they can do this, the advice-only financial planners can show people with little or no savings how to make money.

All you need is fintech. We have that for you. Plus, the advice-only financial planner is the facilitator.

Old school financial planning fintech doesn’t work for the mass market. It is planner-centric, planning people one by one. Plus, it isn’t straightforward.

Advice-only financial planning fintech works for the mass market. It is user-centric, simple to use and links to Open Banking for accuracy and ease of updating.

Currently, there is only one customer-directed Open Banking-powered financial planning application in the market. And that’s HapNav, the Happiness Navigator. Available exclusively through the Academy of Life Planning for £6.99 per month, with a free 30-day trial at www.hapnav.com.

You don’t have to be an Academy member to use it. Everyone can access it.

How do you use HapNav to remove fear and anxiety about running out of money?

First, enter all your financial data. Don’t worry. No one will see this data but you. It’s user centred. Planners don’t get to see it unless you want them to. So, no pushy salespeople are going to contact you. And you do not need to be embarrassed about your financial situation. Only you will know.

If you have a low probability of achieving your goals, you can ask HapNav to “fix it” or come up with some of your ideas with “what-if” scenario functionality.

If unsure how you can attend a HapNav class run by your advice-only financial planner.

If you want extra money, your advice-only financial planner will provide you with a workbook. It’s called your Ikigai Proposition Development Framework. Ikigai is Japanese for “reason for being”. Ikigai projects and side-hustles are a pretty effective way of growing your wealth.

The total cost of a book and three workbooks is £28.50 (including international postage and packaging). This programme will give you everything for your deficiency needs planning, and your growth desires planning.

Your advice-only financial planner will offer you many free materials and tutorials. Still, you will have the opportunity to upgrade to groups or one-to-one work for dealing with particularly tricky financial situations.

Using the materials and HapNav, you can identify a favourite future where you are no longer fearful and anxious about money.

From this point, you can navigate happiness using HapNav to track progress.

We see this planning as the future for all generations.

We think this is much needed in today’s society.

David Harper, a clinical psychologist at the University of East London, puts it this way:

“Evidence shows that a major contributor to serious emotional distress is income inequality – the growing gap between the richest and poorest people. To increase happiness, we need firm action on inequality.”

To recap, the total cost of the done-by-you programme is £28.50 plus £6.99 per month.

You can purchase the book, pack, and app from our Shop.

AoLP | Shop For Financial Planning Courses and Coaching (academyoflifeplanning.com)

By joining the Academy of Life Planning, old-school advisers can become advice only financial planners.

The Live Longer Better Plan

Do you want to live longer better?

Are you ready to choose a better life from today?

Where are you now?

Maybe you haven’t found that inspiring reason to spring out of bed on a Monday morning.  You live as others expect you to live and not true to yourself. You lack self-knowledge and true direction. And live for the weekend.

Perhaps you have not kept in touch with friends and family, you feel there is too much unsaid that needs to be said and feel under invested in your relationships and social bubble.

Possibly you haven’t been looking after yourself as you should. Not taking enough exercise, and not paying enough attention to your diet.

Potentially you are overly stressed, working too hard, and not allowing yourself to be happy. Or you are bored, underachieving and lacking in stimulating challenges.

Maybe your fear of financial insecurity is holding you back.

What brings you to read this?

Picture this. You discover your reason for being. An inspiring path of purpose, living true to yourself that creates your legacy.

Here you have a lovely and supportive social bubble.

Imagine this. You are fit and active expecting to live to a ripe old age in good health.

What if you learn new skills, enjoy a good work-life balance, and allow yourself to be happy?

Here, you enjoy financial freedom for life.

If health challenges and financial insecurity is where you are, and wealth and wellbeing is where you want to be then I’m sure you would agree. You need a vehicle, system, or solution to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be. Good. That’s the Live Longer Better Plan.

Why is living longer better important?

You deserve to live longer better. You must treat yourself as equally important as others. If you don’t place the Oxygen mask on yourself first, you may be unable to help others to live longer better.

Why now?

Whatever condition you are in regarding your health and finances, there is a gap between your performance and potential. Do nothing and performance in wealth and wellbeing deteriorates. By acting today, you can bridge that gap. With knowledge, activity, and a little luck on our side we each have the potential to live for 90 years in good health, without outliving our capital.

Why us?

In modern society, without financial wellbeing there can be no wellbeing. Without wellbeing, financial wellbeing counts for nothing.

Whole industries have been created on the back of demand for living longer better programmes in the areas of healthcare and finance. Whilst healthcare is a highly trusted industry. Historically, many financial institutions are distrusted[i]. The evidence suggests they lack integrity and place profits before purpose. Money before meaning. They muddy the waters between advice and product. And as a result, fail to help us to live long better.

For example, the industry sells us products for when our earnings stop. They hold our money for a lifetime to tap into for fees. When the truth is, stopping earnings is bad for our health in more ways than you can imagine. What we need are strategies to extend the life of our earnings.

We need financial plans we can trust. For the financial industry to be trusted we need integrity. To achieve integrity, we need a wall between advice and products.

Over ten years ago, I left the big financial institutions as head of investments at the big banks to set up an independent trusted adviser business. At first, I thought that was a financial advice business. But I soon discovered that advisers get paid on the products they sell and the collateral damage amongst consumers was widespread and common. There was no wall between advice and products.

On 2nd April 2012, I created a financial planning firm that placed a wall between advice and products. I called it the Academy of Life Planning.

I also became the founding lead of the Market Integrity Team of the Transparency Taskforce. An international collaborative campaigning community seeking to restore trust and confidence in the financial services industry.

Today, the Academy mentors hundreds of planners across six continents. It is the world’s first non-intermediating financial planning network.

Here are our awards.

Most Pioneering Financial Planner Network Winner 2022, at the Acquisition International Worldwide Finance awards 2022. Financial Adviser Support Network of the Year Winner 2022, at Corporate Live Wire Innovation & Excellence awards 2022. Twice winner of Best Financial Adviser Support Network in 2021 and 2020, at SME news Finance Awards. Twice winner of an Award For Outstanding Contribution To Finance in 2021 & 2020, at SME news Finance Awards.

The Academy’s financial planning app – HapNav the Happiness Navigator – is the world’s first customer-directed Open-banking-powered financial planning application.

HapNav has been shortlisted as The Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts Awards finalist for September 2022, in Best Use of Technology in the Investment Life & Pensions Sector.

Academy members are amongst the most trusted advisers worldwide, as can be seen in industry polls. They set goals for holistic wellbeing and put in place financial plans to deliver the favourite futures their clients deserve. The result is our clients live longer better.

Here’s the thing …

Money is a means to an end and not an end in itself; The end we seek is living longer better.

See also Sir Muir Gray’s Living Longer Better training course.

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/wellbeing/courses/living-longer-better

Here’s an article I wrote over two years ago on the importance of wellbeing.

The GAME Plan: Four Capitals Detox – Academy of Life Planning

9 mins read.

In the article, I talk about the importance of health in four areas – Mental, Physical, Emotional, Eudemonic/ Spiritual. In the GAME Plan, it comes under E for Execution. The system is the Stand & DELIVER Game Giver. The D is Detox. As in four capitals detox.

As Stephen R. Covey said in the 8th Habit (2006):

“Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy!”


Notes:

[i] Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2022. PowerPoint Presentation (edelman.com)

See also UK Violation tracker Financial Offences summary over £3bn in fines since 2010. https://violationtrackeruk.goodjobsfirst.org/?offence_group=financial+offences

What a fabulous career choice this NIFP network has turned out to be.

Our planning model removes product intermediation from the advice process. It’s absolutely amazing when you take the blinkers off; we open up vast horizons of planning opportunity. The likes of which we have never seen before.

For example:

  • Planning 100 employees all at once with one planner as part of an employee financial wellbeing programme.
  • Creating a recurring retirement income from meaningful work, as a rescue package for the 70% of the population facing retirement with little or no savings.
  • Planning the whole-person wellbeing of the client (mind-body-heart-spirit) and then putting in place the financial wellbeing to support it.

Financial wellbeing is an area of great interest. This is far broader than those provider sponsored debt and savings management programmes.

“Financial wellness correlates to physical wellness, and they need to come together as a concept.” – Kevin Crain, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

What excites me most about this new paradigm in financial planning is that we are only just scratching the surface of what it can deliver.

What we need is a network of like-minded planning entrepreneurs exploring with passion the various niches:

Gen Z – setting out on a multi-stage life

Gen Y – investing in transformational assets for economic resilience in an uncertain world

Gen X – Resetting themselves for a new career direction

Boomers – Being the mass unretired.

Check out these initiatives. Sign up for them!

The Telegraph recommends us, a new international partnership, our impact on workforce culture, and new workshop dates… (mailerlite.com)

“People 50 to 70 are seeing particular changes. Only 26 percent of surveyed baby boomers said they were going to retire and stop working. There are a large number of entrepreneurs [in the baby boomer generation], and there are going to be people entering and exiting the workforce much more rapidly and repeatedly.” – Bruce Wolf, Executive Director, BlackRock Retirement Institute.

Living, Learning, and Earning Longer (aarpinternational.org)

The jobs that welcome over-50s and how much they pay (telegraph.co.uk)

Financial Wellness | Aging2.0

Wow, wow, and more wow!

What a fabulous career choice this NIFP network has turned out to be.

We are a global network of non-intermediating financial planners. We aim to deliver financial security and wellbeing to the 70% of the world’s population with little or no savings. We offer a unique planning model and fintech apps to give accessibility for planning and coaching to everyone.

If you’d like to learn to be an NIFP, investing in your own transformational assets so you are ready for the abrupt halt in old paradigm planning, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Happy Navigating!

Steve

Email: steve.conley@aolp.co.uk

The Ultimate Stakeholder Win-Win Proposition

Good brands and stakeholders

Question:

You may choose to answer this on the Facebook pages as I believe it is a vibrant subject.

Very timely and pertinent to the malaise of beleaguered businesses right now. Especially the SME enterprises, and I suspect it is because many HR people do not appreciate the relationship between the business owner and their employees at a Spiritual level – that all beings are seeking the same things in life – meaning, purpose, fulfillment, fair exchange for their contributions and balanced life, in which they get to be who they are born to be. 

Can you summarise the power of the GAME plan as an employee/ employer win-win piece within any organisation that is seeking to make a positive impact (and maybe make money) but where the people in it are aligned – the bosses, leaders, and employees/ volunteers? I want attention to the 4 Ps, the corporate ikigai, the firms of endearment.

Answer:

The key aim of the Game Plan is to create well-being and put in place the wealth to support it.

The old school approach was to either just stick to the money and ignore life (money-centred financial planner) or live the best life for the money you have (life-centred financial planner). That is. Well-being isn’t considered, or you get the best well-being you can afford.

My Review of “Life Centered Financial Planning”, by Mitch Anthony and Paul Armson – Academy of Life Planning

With the Game Plan:

We ask, “what well-being would you like” and then put in place the wealth to support it. Here you find higher levels of well-being than can be achieved from paper asset sales programmes.

McKinsey Global Institute declares that stakeholder capitalism, in which companies carefully manage the trade-offs between their varying stakeholders, is the key to long-term value creation.

Stakeholder capitalism is a recognition that any company is a social organisation that needs engaged workforces, loyal customers, supportive shareholders, and strong brands, all whose claims have to be managed, alongside financial priorities.

Whether your client is a person or corporate or other entity … it doesn’t matter … the question is the same.

What would be the ideal state of well-being, and what do the financials need to look like to support you?

As you know, whether individual or entity, the asset strategy that gets you to well-being quickly with the least amount of downside risk is the “business plan of you.”

We follow the principles of the whole-person paradigm (Ikigai) or the whole-business paradigm (Quadruple bottom line/ 4Qs/ the Firm of Endearment studies). We get accelerated financial growth and a lower risk of failure.

The assets audit of a business and its workers looks like this:

 MindBodyHeartSpirit
Person – TangiblePaper AssetsPhysical Assets  
Intangible ProductiveKnow-howSkill/ Time/ LocationPeople network/ connectionsReputation/ Integrity/ Character
Intangible VitalityMental WellnessPhysical WellnessEmotional WellnessPurpose/ Values
Business-TangiblePaper AssetsPhysical Assets  
Intangible ProductiveIntellectual property/ licenses/ trademarks/ copyrightSoftwareClient or prospect lists, stakeholder lists, etcBrand
Intangible VitalityStakeholder mental well-beingStakeholder physical well-beingStakeholder emotional well-beingCultural alignment of stakeholders
Asset classes corporate and individual.

It’s simple stakeholder economics. There is a cultural misalignment in an organisation; we get a high risk of entropic failure. See Culture Assessment – Barrett Values Centre

One of the universal principles of the Game Plan is “as above so below, as below so above.”

If each stakeholder of an organisation has wellness and well-being and the economic resources to maintain them, then so too does the organisation. And vice versa.

For example, a wellness, well-being, and wealth management programme as part of an employee benefits package will reap the rewards for the business.

If each worker has whole-person well-being and financial security to sustain them, they are more productive, engaged, motivated, present, aligned, and working as a team. All are pulling in the same direction. And the result for the business is higher levels of productivity and customer satisfaction.

As can be seen from the Firms of Endearment studies, the business can double in size every three years relative to average market participants by following this approach. Firms of Endearment | Second Edition

And, according to CB Insights, with a lower risk of failure. Why Startups Fail: Top 12 Reasons l CB Insights

High returns, lower risk. The efficient frontier of possible performance. And delighted stakeholders!

Wellness, well-being, and wealth management employee benefits programmes are absolute no-brainers.

A complete win-win for employers and employees. And, for that matter, all stakeholders!

Employee financial planning apps for well-being at work

http://www.hapnav.com

Financially disorganised employees are the source of low productivity and reduced efficiency in the workplace. It’s a no-brainer that an engaged and stress-free workforce will be more productive and bring more value to the organisation than a team of financially stressed employees. So, what difference can an employee financial planning app make to your workplace?

An employee who is disorganised financially is more prone to absenteeism and performing poorly at essential tasks. However, the onus of learning more about finance lies not just with the employee but also with the employer. As much as every worker must find ways to remain aware of their finances, employers can play a significant role in making sure that their workforce is financially organised. The easiest way to do this is to look at what employee financial planning apps have to offer.

Duty of care.

Firstly, there is a duty of care to consider. An employer is obliged to take the steps necessary to ensure their employees’ health, safety, and well-being. Well-being can be mental, physical, or financial.

What do you need to do to satisfy your duty of care in employee financial well-being matters?

The financial case.

Secondly, there is a financial case to consider.

Money worries can be hugely amplified in the workplace with lost engagement, absenteeism, presenteeism, and stress-induced lousy behaviour.

It’s time for employers to step up and support their workers who may be suffering from financial worries. While employers may not be able to offer bigger wage packets or prevent their employees from getting into debt, providing them with access to mental, physical, and financial well-being assistance programmes can make a real difference in their day-to-day lives.

Your employee cost is the total cost associated with employing an individual. Depending on industry and profession, it can exceed twice their salary. The costs include recruiting, HR, salary, taxes, benefits, incentives, paid leave, training & development, office space, consumables, insurance, and equipment.

According to Monster, the average staff turnover rate in the UK is 15% – though the figure varies between industries.

According to Oxford Economics and Unum research, the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614. This figure comprises hiring costs, onboarding, training, and lost productivity, amongst other things.

An average staff turnover rate of 15% costs organisations with 500 employees around £2.3 million every year.

Salary is the top major cause of employee turnover, the given reason in 85% of cases.

What’s more valuable:

  • Providing a 1% pay increase over the competition, or
  • Teaching the person how to make the most out of their salary every month for 0.2% of pay?

The employee financial planning app.

A financial literacy programme may include providing employees with personal confidential financial planning app integrated with their bank accounts.

Your employees may all have different bank accounts, and you might need an end-user financial planning app with an open banking app.

Let me introduce HapNav, the Happiness Navigator! This is the world’s first end-user financial planning app with an open banking app.

The app helps navigate the cash flow valley from one paycheque to the next or plan toward a more secure financial future.

The cost per employee? Just £6.99 per month.

If you provide apps to 500 workers at £6.99 pm each, the total cost is £41,940 per annum.

The cost of providing HapNav @ work as an employee benefit is less than the average employee cost (earning £25,000 a year or more). The cost of 1 FTE. That’s a total of 0.2% of employee costs.

You could offer it as part of a flexible benefits package, or as a voluntary benefits scheme.

If a financial planning app could reduce turnover from 15% to 14.7%, it would be a no-brainer.

In addition, you increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.

You meet your duty of care, increase motivation, and save money!

Please find out more by visiting our website.

HAPNAV | End User Financial Planning App With Open Banking

Generation Cast Out: How To Cope When Forced To Retire

Older workers are being pushed out of jobs and into retirement, reports today’s Telegraph.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/pensions-retirement/financial-planning/pushed-work-age-mid-lifers-face-ruin-pensions-run-dry/

Bullet points:

  • Forced to spend pensions sooner than planned.
  • Un-employment in over 50s rocketed. Age discrimination is rife.
  • Over half a million silver workers left employment since the pandemic.
  • Two-in-five older unemployed still out of work after a year. Shut out and left behind.
  • Losing confidence in abilities.
  • 30 job applications a week for 18 months – no job offers. Gave up in the end.
  • Only one in five over 55s looking for work are confident of finding it
  • Taxman benefits by £800m.
  • Redundant at 55 could leave workers almost £1m worse-off.
  • During worst cost of living crisis in decades.

What you need in this situation?

Is it financial coaching/ counselling/ therapy? It’s not about how to better organise finances.

Is it financial advice or financial planning? It’s not about getting more out of your savings either.

It’s asset strategies!

You need to identify “productive assets” from what you are good at, love, the world needs, and will pay for. Assets like Know-how, skill, connections, reputation – and turn them into future “tangible income producing assets”.

Creating a business out of a hobby or side-hustle has the potential to not just produce an income, or a passive income. It can also produce a future capital event on exit/ sale to supplement your retirement savings. Income and a future lump sum.

An end-user financial planning app with open banking inside will help you to know your numbers – see www.hapnav.com, £6.99 per month with free 30-day trial.

A DIY course to identify asset strategies – see the Game Plan medley pack, currently 80% off at a one-off-price of £16.51 (offer ends 30 June 2022).

Plus loads of free materials, updates, articles, posts, social media groups.

Don’t let them push you into retirement. Choose meaningful projects instead.

Find your Ikigai! Japanese for “reason for being”. Find work that doesn’t feel like work from which you never wish to retire.

If you want to know more about asset strategies, or even training to be an asset strategist so that you can help others step out of their comfort zone and answer their call to new adventures… visit our website for details.

See www.lifewithoutpensions.com or www.academyoflifeplanning.com.

Employee Benefit #1: Financially Organised Workers Are Happy Workers

HapNav @ Work

The most important asset of any business is its people. Financial wellbeing is critical if employees are to be engaged, motivated, and productive. Yet, all but senior executives and managers are underserved by the financial adviser community on account of their limited wealth. That was, until now!

Until now, the workforce must rely on the internet, sponsored media propaganda, or ill-informed friends and relatives. They are financially vulnerable and have limited ability to withstand financial shock.

Over the past two years there has been a basic living cost surge for low-income families, and there are no signs of anything improving soon.

Money worries can be hugely amplified in the workplace with lost engagement, absenteeism, presenteeism, and stress induced bad behaviour.

It’s time for employers to step up and support their workers who may be suffering from financial worries. Whilst employers may not be able to offer bigger wage packets or prevent their employees getting into debt, providing them with access to financial, physical, and mental wellbeing assistance programmes can make a real difference in their day-to-day lives.

Of course, positive money management is only a small part of good mental and physical wellbeing. To discover what businesses can do to ensure their workforce remains happy, healthy, and productive, check out our complete Game Plan to health and wellbeing via the links below!

We offer HapNav – The Happiness Navigator!

We help with positive money management with a unique offering…

HapNav is the world’s first end-user financial planning application with an open banking application inside.

Some extra programming every B2C fintech app needs, that we have in HapNav:

  • Advising on the 100% of client wealth, not just the 5% that is regulated investments.
  • Advising on how to make money, not just saving money.
  • Advising on the client, not just the money.

HapNav Artificial Intelligence (AI) produces “Fix It” solutions free from transaction-bias of humans! You’ll be surprised how many of the fixes do not involve the purchase of a financial product.

Try it and see. Model your favourite future with our “What-if” modelling tool. Track your journey to it, with integrated open banking automatically updating income, outgoings, and balances.

What does this advanced tech mean for you?

Embedded banking + Customer-centricity = Market First, Market Leader!

Embedded Banking:

“We are now seeing the embedded finance trend picking up, which wasn’t the case three or four years ago. Financial services are becoming increasingly distributed and Embedded banking is one of the enablers.” – Dr. Efi Pylarinou, Global Influencer, Fintech & Disruptive Tech.

Customer-centricity:

Successful financial services firms display a new way of working that is multi-disciplinary and mission-focused, pulling in the same direction to achieve value for end-users. Customer-centricity is becoming a key focus, and millennials and Generation Z will play a big part in the shape of things to come. To be part of this exciting future, business leaders in the industry must prioritise their tech strategy and place software engineering at the heart of business planning.

For details of these trends see: fintech trends for 2022 free to download report (erlang-solutions.com)

“I think the future cashflow planning tool should be end-user, to give a user the adviser portability, privacy, and data ownership. It should be open banking integrated to be accurate and updated. It should be probabilistic to avoid linear assumptions. The planner should be an educator. When this happens, the planner can offer the service to users in groups and on a subscription basis for a fraction of one-to-one advice so plugging the advice gap. Millennials and Genzies love having this on their mobiles. Did I say the future? I meant today.” – Steve Conley, CEO HapNav.

We put the tools of the planners in the hands of end users, as the best place to find a helping hand you can trust is at the end of your own arm.

To find out what else HapNav has to offer, check out our website: www.hapnav.com

HapNav Tech Support via www.academyoflifeplanning.com

Try it out for free, with our Guest Pass, or Register for Free with our free 30-day trial (this remembers your details).

What Kind Of Fools… is the investment industry voting on its own pay?

The UK investment regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, suggests relaxing sales rules for £90bn in consumer savings to be switched to assets it regulates.

The FCA has spotted nearly nine million people holding cash of £10,000 or more, which it describes as “investable assets” (money that could be switched to regulated investments). They suggest that holding cash is a bad thing, and consumers would be far better off holding assets it regulates. They think that relaxing rules to protect consumers from unscrupulous investment salespeople will result in better outcomes for consumers. I’m not so sure.

We could be looking at a red-herring here. According to ONS, financial assets are 13% of the total wealth of Britain. Split 8% short-term (savings), 5% long-term (investments). Excludes business assets (how money is made). What’s wrong with this mix?

You’ve got to ask, why is this even on the agenda? Given spotlights elsewhere at the FCA. Could it be because there’s a conflict of interest?

Eighteen months ago, the FCA said:

“Too often consumers leave their savings in cash because they don’t have confidence in the alternatives. That’s why we have made Consumer Investments a priority in our current Business Plan. The overwhelming majority of retail investors are best served by readily understood, well-diversified and low-cost investments which are already available from a range of providers, but many retail investors don’t choose these.”

Twelve months later, the FCA suggests that investment availability or access were an issue. The conclusion was either that or consumers were fools.

“We take the view that many of them simply do so because they are either unable to access an investment product or are unwilling to do so. The reasons behind this are behavioural but they are also clearly a function of a lack of knowledge.”

Access isn’t an issue. Investments are easy to buy, and consumers are no fools.

Could these be genuine emergency funds earmarked adequately for the upcoming crisis in living standards? Could this be an asset that needs to be accessible in the next five years, short-term? What’s to suggest that consumers are mistaken?

While moving surplus assets (money not required in the short-term) to investments mitigates inflationary pressure, there’s a host of reasons why cash is good. And, while the investment industry, including the regulator, feed on a percentage of funds under management, they shouldn’t be the ones calling the shots on relaxing rules put there to protect people.

Could it be that consumers are suspicious and distrusting? Maybe rightly so.

Did the retail distribution review a decade ago cause savers not to invest? The advisers of today have always served higher net worth investors. Nothing has changed here. The advisers to the lower net worth disappeared, as they were unable to demonstrate value for money.

The bancassurance advisers disappeared, and a decade earlier, the home service advisers disappeared. Seven in ten adults stopped having an investment conversation because the fees charged were disproportionately high than the sums saved. Was this such a bad thing?

Maybe it’s the wealthy pensioners? According to ONS, one-third of the adult population are over age 55 yet own two-thirds of the wealth. All that boomer wealth in drawdown sits in higher proportions in short-term assets. Gen XYZ has little or no savings, and a higher proportion needs to be in cash to navigate the cost-of-living crisis. This dynamic would skew financial asset holdings in favour of cash deposits. The split would favour investments if wealth distribution were the other way around.

Is B2C fintech even addressing the correct issues? The industry explores using technology to shift the savings (money already made) to investments (long-stay parking). With little regard to helping consumers with little or no savings make money in the first instance.

When you have little money, twice as much can make you twice as happy.

When you have little in the way of savings, taking it away and locking it in long-term investment products makes consumers twice as sad.

Recommending that assets be shifted is expensive. Coaching on the options for shifting assets less so. Robo-advice to shift assets can be made available fee-free. All this advice on shifting assets. Where’s the advice on making assets? It doesn’t exist.

Why should the consumer shift assets to other people anyway? Why can’t they be allowed to possess their assets? Invest in themselves, and make money?

I understand that inflation erodes short-term assets. I also understand that short-term assets are essential in times of crisis. I also understand that the industry pays itself on long-term assets. There are a lot of decision-makers with their fingers in the pie here.

The industry calls consumers fools. It looks as though the outcome will be the investment industry empowers itself to nudge people towards itself.

What kind of fools do you take us for?

Will FCA proposals to improve access to advice be successful? – FTAdviser.com

Persistent Debt Regulations Hit One Million Credit Card Holders

The average Brit household faces an unsecured debt of half annual pay, which at minimum payments would take 30 years to repay. But a million consumers are in for a big shock this Spring.

I’m writing to highlight that the regulators and bankers are calling in unsecured debt under the guise of doing good – at precisely the wrong time in the economic cycle from the consumers’ perspective. They call it persistent debt regulations. If you search it … all you find are positive comments. I’m not so positive! I don’t have any credit cards for the benefit of full disclosure.

Persistent debt is where, over 18 months, you’ve paid more in interest and charges than you’ve repaid of the amount borrowed. Lenders wrote threatening letters to 2 million cardholders during the pandemic.

Remain in persistent debt for a further 18 months, so for a total of 36 months. Your credit card provider will get in touch again, freeze your card, and set out ways that would enable you to repay your outstanding balance within a reasonable period, which the FCA sees as usually being between three and four years. 

Over the last 36 months, bankers wrote to customers at or close to credit card limits.

  • They wrote to those making minimum repayments during covid when payment holidays were supposed to be the norm.
  • The bankers demanded that these customers increase repayments by 50% to 100% in many cases.
  • They froze credit facilities ahead of this Spring Crisis.
  • They demanded invasive disclosure of personal financial data to assess circumstances beyond their contractual powers to do so.

These customers are typically low-income, often single-parent households with young families to support during the economic crisis and with little or no savings. They are long-time customers of the banks and have lived this way, from pay cheque to pay cheque, using their cards within the agreed terms for years. It is used as a facility or float to dip into when there is more month than money. For example, at Christmas to treat the kids. Or for a much-needed holiday break. These customers are not in default on the cards; they often have always made payments on time. They have good credit scores. These customers have been loyal cardholders for 20 to 30 years in many cases.

To date, these customers have been faithful, trustworthy, satisfied, and strong advocates of their banks. Due to the high-interest rates on the cards, they have proved very profitable for bankers over the years. The banks have attracted borrowers with click-bait rates and made repeated unprompted increases to lending limits. Banks have remained satisfied with repayments from debt-ridden borrowers for years, even though the borrowers themselves suffer from inefficiency due to debt overhang. Win-win, you would have thought.

So, what is going on? Are the bankers raising capital to shore up their balance sheets – at the worst time in economic history from the consumers’ perspective? Is it to satisfy the regulator? Or the taxman, who doesn’t want to have to bail out bankers anymore? Perhaps the Government seeks to offload banks from their balance sheet? What’s this mass cross-subsidy from borrowers to lenders about?

Due to bank failures and bailouts, we have just had ten years of austerity—two years of covid pandemic hitting low-income households with 7 in 10 homes financially worse off. And now customers face a Spring Crisis due to high inflation, fuel problems, tax hikes, and geopolitical unrest.

Ten years ago, bankers turned their marketing budgets away from savings (due to low interest rates) and investments (the retail distribution review). They filled their boots with high-margin unsecured loans to satisfy shareholders and pay banker bonuses.

Why call debts in now?

People aren’t stupid. They know bankers charge exorbitant rates of interest on their credit card balances. They know that items bought on credit are paid for three times over. They voluntarily will reduce debit balances when they can afford to do so – when they do not face difficult choices of eating versus heating. They remain within the lending terms originally signed up to when the bank sold the product.

Even when borrowers make large one-off payments to reduce debt balances by half, the banks still send the letters and freeze the cards, removing lending facilities. Because the computer says, it is the monthly repayment amount that must increase.

Initial estimates were that around 2 million accounts could reach the 36-month stage. However, we can now see from industry data that this has reduced to about 950 thousand customers (who have 1.1 million accounts), or just over 2 percent of all credit card accounts.

That’s 1 million customers increasing their repayments, throughout the pandemic, in response to the earlier communications within the persistent debt process.

We are leaving 1 million unable to do so.

People aren’t stupid.

Why vary the terms now? And don’t tell me because the regulator told banks to!

Regulators say, “consistently making low payments for a long time is an expensive way to carry longer-term borrowing, and these rules have been created to keep your overall costs down.”

The regulator adds.

“If having the use of your credit card suspended will cause you significant difficulties with your wider financial situation, it’s vital that you engage with your card provider to explain this, so that they can take this into account and consider whether this action remains necessary based on your updated circumstances.”

“If you are worried about meeting your everyday bills, you may want to consider seeking free debt advice.”

With a final kick in the teeth.

“Your credit report will continue to reflect whether you have met your contractual minimum monthly payments, but it’s important to consider that only making minimum or low payments over a long period can influence your credit rating.”

This process is happening because it is Government policy, as a debt-ridden nation threatens a persistent recession, which loses votes. Debt reduction after a financial crisis can work as a macroeconomic policy that restores economic growth. Debt-ridden borrowers from excessive debt can improve their efficiency, thus helping aggregate productivity in the overall economy.

I say these 1 million people need some breathing space.

We face a future of increasing global economic and geopolitical uncertainty and employment insecurity. More so now than ever. Events like this Spring are more likely to become the norm in the future. Times like these are not times for promoting debt restructuring or wealth redistribution from borrowers to lenders.

My advice to the 2 million affected by this cruel regulation is this. Make a note to rid yourself of credit cards in the future, as these times will pass. Maintain your contractual obligations on the cards, but always pay yourself first. Get yourself financially organised as best you can. Seek help where you can.

And here’s a tip the sellers of loan products or saving products, the providers, or the other unaccountable hierarchies of profit and power fail to tell you.

Whether you are an asset or a liability on their books, the banks, related companies, and their distributors are tapping into you for fees to pay shareholder profits and bonuses. They are not in the business of helping you make money in the first place.

My tip to you is to make more money during these challenging times to navigate the cash flow valley. Turn hobbies into a portfolio of side hustles, help one another, and create a better future for you and your loved ones.

Put yourself first. Don’t feel guilty. See the bankers for what they truly are. Highway robbers!