End of an era
Today marked the end of an 11-year journey for me as I finally stepped down from the Financial Planning Practitioner Panel – the Power Panel for short.
I’ve been a volunteer at the Personal Finance Society since 2009 when we set up our local Isle of Man region, before joining the national board in London in 2012 as director.
The Power Panel was set up in 2017 when I was privileged to be the President, and Financial Planning was ‘my’ theme.
To those outside Financial Planner world, the name may imply Power player, power hungry, crazed or any other negative connotation of which you may think! It is actually about the power to change lives through financial planning, which we practitioners do.
Today I was able to proudly (and gladly!) pass on the chair of the panel to the very competent Damien Rylett of Brunel Capital Partners in Bristol, whom I’m sure will do a great job in the future.
My sincere thanks to the entire Power panel, including those who, like me are stepping down today – Julie Lord and Brendan O’Ciobhain; and welcome to new members Jane Gow and Sarah Elson
In preparing for today, I reflected on what we’ve achieved over the last three years.
Sure, the events – the first ‘Power Live’, was a roaring success in 2018, the next one not so much.
But the guides, and the realisation in early 2019 that content building and online delivery was the key, the inspired (so inspired it turns out!) choice to go digital.
Over that time we’ve forged deep links with the Personal Finance Society’s Chartered awards finalists and recipients – this was always a no-brainer to me.
And I’ve lost count of how many past winners we have now doing their part to share good practice on a pro-bono basis across the world of Financial Services.
And seeing how far we’ve come and how much we’ve collectively achieved, in building consensus and collaboration; we’ve probably built the model for everything engagement.
So I think its good to acknowledge the changes and trajectory, and I’ve tried to chair the panel collaboratively and let other voices be heard, those far wiser than me.
Along with Julie and Brendan leaving today, we should acknowledge those who have already left; Neil Bailey, Adrian Quick, Paul Hamer, Adam Carolan, Jane Hodges and Simon Thomas.
A huge thanks of course to Steve Gazzard, Carrie Bendall and Mark Hutchinson, along with the PFS team led by CEO Keith Richards. Together, we thought up the whole concept at the end of 2016; it’s just been a fantastic opportunity and couldn’t have been done without them.
I’m thrilled with how the panel is now made up. The balance is deliberate; all bring differing and different insights. – if we all agree with each other, we learn nothing new!
So what is still left to do?
We have started the Financial Planning equivalent to jurisprudence (an academic body of knowledge) with the guides.
The link to peer-reviewed university research awarded numerous MBA’s and PhD’s is an obvious next step (and missing link) to me.
Another next step is the long-overdue re-hash of the Financial Planning exam (AF5) paper as the tip of a rather massive iceberg.
With the PFS about to see Keith and Sian Fisher making a move on Simon Culhane’s favourite corner office, it is about time to realise we (at least) jointly own Financial Planning Week as a united profession.
The PFS should promote it anyway if CISI won’t play ball, in my opinion.
And lastly, the consumer engagement piece is now more paramount than ever, and the scale is breath-taking.
With financial capability being that survival skill that every human being needs and yet education in the ‘how to’ of money at a societal level at an all-time low, I’ll leave you with David Foster Wallace’s anecdote to illustrate my point as to the size of the task ahead:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?”
And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
I’m proud to remain part of the greatest, most important and relevant profession of the 21st century, and I’m excited to see our Power Panel go onto to great things ahead. Watch this space.