Whether it is the pressure on commission disclosure both from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Competition and Markets Authority; the FCA’s ban on add-on opt-out sales, or the latest new proposals on transparent pricing on renewals, these changes all bring their challenges for the intermediary as well as their opportunities.
The UK’s economy has impacted people’s personal incomes and financial stability and the economic outlook remains fragile, compounded by movements in international markets.
Closer to home, some significant UK redundancies have been announced and the spectre of interest rate rises on the horizon continues to be a threat. In line with the Chancellor’s latest budget, Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) increased from 6% to 9.5% meaning a hike in premium for many – a further hit to customers’ pockets. We have also seen continuing pressure from the state to reduce benefits and this, on top of redundancies and rising costs and interest rates, raised the question of whether clients will cope under this pressure in 2016 and beyond.
Whilst all of this, coupled with the greater personal financial freedoms introduced this year clearly presents its challenges, it has served to make financial planning and the role of the professional adviser all the more valued and GI of course forms an integral part of that financial planning.
At Berkeley Alexander we have worked tirelessly to help support our brokers through the regulation maze – whether through product training and advice or our direct referral service. Our BDM team has also grown significantly this year to deliver the support needed. We have also continued to grow our choice of GI products to meet the ever changing needs of customers. It has been an exciting ride this year and as we hurtle towards 2016 we will be there to share the journey with our brokers every step of the way.