Financial Planner of the Year 2014
The following article by Jon Cudby appeared in the December 2014 issue of Money Management and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Money Management / Financial Times Ltd.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”
Thankfully Robin Keyte didn’t heed WC Fields’ mischievous addendum to the old saying and has persisted in entering the Money Management Financial Planner awards for every one of the past five years in pursuit of the overall prize.
It is hardly fair to define his previous efforts as not succeeding though; Mr Keyte has been recognised every year he has entered and came into this year’s competition having amassed four individual titles and two runners-up prizes during the preceding five years. A more than tidy haul, but in every one of those years, he has seemed genuinely disappointed not to have taken the main award. So I was particularly thrilled that the Taunton-based chartered planner finally saw his efforts rewarded with the top prize this year.
The 2014 contest might have involved the toughest field too. While there was not a record number of entrants, we did receive a record number of entries as the majority went in for at least three categories in order to be eligible for the overall prize. There were also quite a few new faces interspersed among the more familiar names. And these newcomers were healthily represented among the winners too, with several taking prizes home.
The financial planners you will see over the coming pages genuinely reflect the very best of your profession. Just entering the awards is no easy undertaking, requiring a 2,500 word case study for every category. Those who are shortlisted then have to undergo an interview with our judges. Turning up on the night to find out if they’ve won may be nerve-wracking, but is probably the only easy part of the process.
Given the level of effort that goes into submitting an entry, I would like to thank all the advisers who took the time to have a go this year. Hopefully, even more of you will be motivated to do the same in 2015.
The judges would like to extend their congratulations to all this year’s entrants. Entries were some of the highest standards seen. There was however, a recurring issue that arose on numerous occasions; that of the assumptions being used. Many used the Barclays Capital study reviewing equity returns over 100 years but then used current rates for inflation and interest rates. The reasons given for this showed a clear lack of understanding of the relationship between inflation, cash and fixed interest and equity returns, which is very disappointing.
Others just looked back 10 years for the appropriate rates despite knowing that more data existed. Again, the reasons for this were weak. As the judges have explained many times, assumptions form the cornerstone of financial planning and should have three aspects: consideration for what’s happened in the past, where we are today and future expectations.
The lack of amendment for charges was also surprising. The longevity assumption many also found tricky. A 65-year-old male today would have an average life expectancy of 86.5 but planning for that means that 22 per cent would still be alive at that time and therefore run out of money!
SPONSORS’ COMMENTS – SCHRODERS
We have now proudly sponsored the Money Management awards for four years and in that time we have watched professionalism across the adviser community rise to inspiring levels. The exacting standards of the awards, which test knowledge and skill across several case studies, are designed to identify the financial planners reaching new heights at the very top of the industry. More than 25 years of championing financial advice make Money Management one of the perfect partners to help recognise excellence in the field, at a time when good financial advice is more important than ever.
WINNER’S COMMENTS – ROBIN KEYTE
Having been competing since 2009 I am delighted to have won the overall award for Financial Planner of the Year.
Each year we get new client enquiries on the strength of the publicity associated with these awards and also appreciative feedback from existing clients who value the third party verification of my knowledge and competency, with hopefully more of the same to follow.
In terms of personal development, drafting case study responses for these awards has led to incremental improvements in my financial planning processes and overall approach. The most recent example of this is the development of a clear and consistent strategy for projecting potential future care costs.
More generally, I think it is great that Money Management publishes the award-winning case studies as exemplars of good practice in financial planning to help raise standards in the industry. That they should have been doing this for so many years prior to RDR is a testament to the foresight of the awards. I cannot think of any other trade publication that has made such a strong contribution to raising standards pre- and post-RDR.
The overall winner had a clear set of assumptions apart from the years added on to life expectancy. However all costs and description of the various clients’ attitude to risk were thoroughly explained. The answers to each of the three case studies showed both an in-depth and clear knowledge of these widespread technical areas as well as an ability to explain complex matters in simple terms.