For those advisers completely new to the business, there can often seem like a lot of benefits to taking the line of least regulatory resistance and opting to shelter under a network’s umbrella.
This works completely fine for a large number of firms and there’s no doubting, particularly for those start-up advisers looking to build a clientbank, that it can smooth the path for many who want to get up and running as quickly as possible.
In any situation however it’s important to review your options – for ARs this may be carrying out due diligence on other network options available, or it may eventually mean making a decision to move from AR status to DA.
Whatever the choice, it is important to reappraise the options on offer regularly. There can be plenty of comfort in staying put where you are, but ultimately it might not be the right home for you or your business, and there may certainly be both financial and business advantages to looking elsewhere.
Hoops to jump through
The move from network to network should be more straight forward – I say ‘should’ because I have heard countless tales of the hoops firms have needed to jump through in order to change.
It sometimes seems like it’s the business practice that time forgot, and while I appreciate networks have to cover the risk involved, at times those obstacles can seem beyond onerous.
Making the move from AR to DA could be viewed as a whole different level up in terms of business change, but in our experience it need not be painful at all.
In a certain respect, you can be at the whim of the regulator in terms of changing your authorisation, but let’s just say that the FCA is far better at its processing now.
It reported a fall in authorisation times for firms, down from 12.7 weeks in Q2 2017/18 to 11.2 weeks in Q3 2017/18.
Indeed, the regulator has specific targets to achieve, namely 100% authorisations within six months of an application being completed, or 12 months from the time it receives an incomplete one – although I doubt anyone sets out to submit an incomplete application.
Grass not always greener
The fact is that slow regulatory authorisation times should not be an excuse when choosing not to go DA.
Within three months the transition can be complete, and with the support of distributors like ourselves, this should be a painless task that gets you to where you want to be far quicker.
It’s not always the case that the grass is greener on the DA street, and for some established AR firms perhaps the comfy pair of slippers should remain in place.
However, if you’re established and feel you’ve potentially outgrown the network environment, there should be nothing holding you back, and the encouragement and tangible support you need to make that change is ready and available to you.
It’s up to you to grab it.