I have been thinking about how to raise standards in financial advice recently and how this relates to professionalism.
To me being a true professional is about having a passion for what you do, so much so that you want to do it not just to the best of your ability but in a way that shows creativity and imagination.
I would liken it to watching Zinedine Zidane or David Ginola play football. When you watch them play as effortlessly as they do with either foot it shows you how much they must love playing and practicing the art of what they do. They have not opted for the lazy option of just being great with their right or left foot as probably 95% of footballers do. No, to be a true professional they have thought about adding flare to their game, doing things differently enough to make them stand out as someone who loves what they do. In short, they play with both feet.
In financial advice I would bring that back to the run of the mill advisers that see a person’s money rather than the actual person. They see products to fit the solution rather than a solution to match the need. I think that’s laziness, borne possibly out of a culture of having to hit targets. Targets to sell x amount of x type of product each month, targets to bring in x amount of money in investments each month. That tends to focus the mind of the adviser on the wrong thing. When you walk through the door the adviser sees your bank balance rather than a person standing before them.
Concentrating on only the money and forgetting about the person does only half of the job in my eyes. Just like playing with only your right foot seriously restricts what you can do on the football pitch.
To be a true professional and to want to raise standards, in my opinion, is to want to do the whole job, and well.