Different Perspectives on CPD for Life Planners

This exchange of emails between AoLP and KI was made at the request of KI.

Dear George,

I hope you do not mind me addressing you directly; given our close work history.

I offer an apology for failing to read the small print on KI training as an olive branch. I simply wanted our disagreement on this matter to end.

As a fellow Transparency Taskforce Ambassador, I had hoped you might understand and welcome my feedback on the CE-Points system. I dislike rent seeking systems, and campaign to remove them. Such as, fee-for-no-service or asset raking.

The small print on KI training T&Cs I would bring to your attention is as follows:
1) Intellectual property limitations mean RLPs cannot use what is taught without your consent.
2) Your CE-Points system appears to me to be rent seeking, and I thought you should be made aware.

You may recall you wrote to me last year on the IP matter. You wrote:
“There’s a rumor that you are downplaying our EVOKE® method to your clients at The Academy of Life Planning. Could that possibly be true? Also, we just want to make sure there is real clarity in your participants’ minds that they are not getting trained in EVOKE® or our Three Questions through your program. Otherwise, we are concerned that our Registered Life Planners® will be very unhappy.”

I assured you then that I was not downplaying, or training on, your copyrighted methods. These past five years, I have had no need of Life Planning Mastery day-long courses as I cannot use what you teach without your consent, and therefore can no longer find what you teach useful.

Why would I pay to attend a programme that was not useful? Clearly I would not. Which is why I am unable to accept your invitation to your next Life Planning Mastery.

Instead, I have had to produce my own copyright free system which I can share openly with my membership. The Game Plan is free to use, modify, and share with any audience. We can use it with groups and for clients on a subscription basis. We can use it freely with consumers and planners.

The Game Plan differs considerably from your EVOKE® method. Not only to avoid copyright infringements, but also because I discovered a way of planning that avoids rent seeking. It is devised for non-intermediating financial planners. The aim is to create wealth, as opposed to gather it for rent. Wealth in every area of life, not simply investment accounts.

I coach planners on a one-to-one basis on my methods, and tailor a unique value proposition for each member. The Game Plan accreditation is for life. There is no continuing education requirement to retain accreditation or be described as “active”. Whilst planners can remain members of the support network, accreditation is not conditional that they remain so. Life planning for me is like love, an ever-fixed mark, a lighthouse which looks on tempests but is never shaken.

The Game Plan is based on a viewpoint that is many-thousands of years old, from long before nobility appropriated people’s traditional rights of access to the commons. Long before nobles even termed intellect … property. Long before the rent seekers sought rent.

I believe when we bring integrity to our value proposition, the need for rent disappears. When a “wall is placed between advice and distribution” I have found those rent seeking methods are neither valued, nor paid for, by clients. The system fails. A clear example of this is the Indian market where the regulator built such a wall.

Rather than depriving investors of rights by co-opting them into contributing to a tragic state of affairs, I instead focus on delivering real freedom in a commoditised market, where value propositions are eroded by regulation and rising consumer awareness relating to rent seekers.

Instead of co-opting planners into compulsory continuous education systems, I help them set up their business and see them on their way. Free to return should they find value in an ongoing service.

I have updated my blog post accordingly as requested.
Kind regards,
Steve
On 31/03/2021 20:24 Lora Woodward <lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com> wrote:

Hi Steve,

Many thanks for your email. It seems we have come to a resolution around your concerns. We are aware that you have shared our email exchange in a recent blog post on your website. Given that you have moved this conversation from a private matter to one that it is public, we would appreciate it if you take one of the following steps: a) please post our continued email communications that show a resolution or b) delete the post. 

We look forward to seeing you at future Mastery programs when you are able to fit them into your schedule. 

Kindest regards,
LoraOn Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 5:00 AM Steve Conley <steve.conley@aolp.co.uk> wrote:

Hi Lora,
Firstly please accept my apologies for mis-spelling your name.

It is my fault. I thought that the RLP was a lifelong designation. I know now that other members were aware of the continuing education requirement, where I was not. My oversight. I was aware and attended many of the Life Planning Mastery courses in the early years, and was aware of that part of the programme. It helped me to grow my competence and confidence in life planning, and I thank you for it.

It would be a blessing if I was able to retain the RLP status. But can see that if I am unable to attend the Mastery that may not be possible, as I cannot see me being able to attend 8 hours of CEUs in the next two years. Due to how busy I am as a life planner, and also I am not using the EVOKE process. I can see the benefits of attending for social and networking purposes, though that is not currently my priority.

Loving kindness to you all, and apologies if my outburst has caused any additional work or inconvenience.

Kind regards,
Steve

On 30/03/2021 22:51 Lora Woodward <lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com> wrote:

Hi Steve,

You bring up some great points, and we appreciate the opportunity to dialog about our decision-making. I’ll respond to your email in-line so each point you make may be addressed.

Kindest regards,
Lora

On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 4:04 AM Steve Conley <steve.conley@aolp.co.uk> wrote:

Hi Laura, Lora

Firstly, let me say that I, and every RLP I have spoken to on this matter, have the utmost respect, admiration, and deep affection for George, and for everything he has done. We are immensely grateful for his work. And we all are deeply indebted to this remarkable man for what he has shared with us. He is undoubtedly the acknowledged father of the life planning movement. Thank you George from all of us. Many thanks for this acknowledgement. George is incredibly proud of the curriculum delivered by Kinder Institute of Life Planning and the advisers we’ve trained globally. 
Thank you for explaining the changes. You’re welcome. It would have been even better had we had a chance to dialog with you around the adjustments when they were released in the fall.

I have to say I am deeply saddened by the news. Not just for myself. But also for all those loyal RLPs who invested heavily in your programme and earned the converted badge, Registered Life Planner (c), over many years of practice and to be proudly listed on planner search results at KI. A place where the public might surely go first to find active life planners. We’re so sorry again that you did not see the announcements we shared earlier on. To be clear, we are not talking about taking away the designation of Registered Life Planner® from anyone who has earned it, although it has always been our principle that to maintain the RLP® designation requires continuing education. The Life Planning Mastery day-long courses have been offered as a form of continuing education since 2009. Those planners that choose to deepen their skills through our continuing education program are listed at the top of our Life Planner Search becaue we can best vouch for their skills. We know they are using our latest methodology.

You see, this is not how “continuing education” works.
I can only give myself as an example. I will let other RLPs speak for themselves, although I will say that those few who I have spoken to about this are also deeply saddened by the news. You have some famous practicing life planners, and staunch advocates of KI, on the list of “inactive” RLPs, that may be equally insulted and also seem soon to lose their RLP status as well, should they fail to comply with your expectations. How very demoralising. There is no indication on our website that someone is an inactive or lesser life planner. We simply are listing the individuals we know to be actively practing Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s brand of life planning first. Most of the feedback that we have received on the adjustments has been very positive. Enforcing the continuing education requirement lends credibility to the program and shows that we are committed to excellence in our standards for the designation of Registered Life Planner®.

George, you wrote to me last year to check that my activities were not devaluing the status of the RLP badge. I assured you they weren’t. On the contrary, I elevate your proposition to my membership and readers. I have to say, you could not have devalued the status of a badge, one so courageously and relentlessly earned, any more than this. We are sorry to hear that you believe that the designation has been devalued. We couldn’t disagree with you more. For consumers, the press, and advisers, listing the professionals that have earned Registered Life Planner® and who are committed to continuing education first emphasizes the value and integrity of the designation.

Lora. You talk of rules that have always been. I apologise. I have been a member of KI for a decade, and I cannot recollect such rules. For example, if I am not mistaken I was actually listed on Planner Search Results as Master of Life Planning. I had expected that I had earned a badge for life, the RLP badge. Had I not thought this to be the case I might have hesitated for one moment at purchase. I thought I was buying, not renting. We have been offering continuing education in the form of Life Planning Mastery day-long trainings since 2009. It is from those programs that the term “Master of Life Planning” was created; it signified that a planner was actively advancing their education in life planning through our continuing education programs. It’s always been a temporary title describing the professionals who earned the RLP® designation and who remained current with their continuing education. The purpose of our Life Planning Mastery and other continuing education options has been to ensure consistent delivery of the life planning skills we teach and the highest caliber of quality among our members. We didn’t feel it would be right to have someone listed in our directory as a “Master of Life Planning” if they didn’t continue to advance their skills through our continuing education program. Additionally, we discovered that there was confusion among our members that the term was viewed as a separate designation. There is one designation and that is Registered Life Planner®. It seemed prudent to the consumers, media, and other professionals that use the search that they should be able to easily distinguish the planners delivering our latest methodology to their clients. To disambiguate the term, we now use “Active Registered Life Planner®” in our Life Planner Search to identify those planners who earned the RLP® designation and are actively continuing their education with us.

I assure you my life planning skills are sharp and current. I have been an active life planner these past 10 years. I have researched the origins of life planning in many faiths, cultures, and traditions and traced back life planning practices many thousands of years. For example, in Shinto philosophy the practices I use now date back some 12,000 years. I have published my findings, and am therefore an authority on the matter. I life plan eight hours a day, every day, and include weekends. An RLP said to me when they heard the news of my inactivity, that I am probably the most active life planner you have on your list. Also, I could teach RLPs a thing or two about life planning from my extensive investigations and studies. I could probably teach more than be taught. If there was a PhD awarded for life planning, I would probably have earnt it. To suggest I am not sharp or staying current in my skills is rather insulting. We do not mean to insult you and there is no suggestion that you or anyone else in our listing is not sharp or inactive in their profession. Far from it. We value you as a Registered Life Planner® and your contributions to the broader field. Our continuing education and the concept of remaining active may not be for every planner that has earned the RLP® designation, though we certainly would want it to be. Our continuing education is based on the methodologies we teach in our training programs. If you and other professionals that have earned the RLP® desination wish to demonstrate your activeness through our Life Planner Search, then it makes the most sense that you would choose to attend our continuing education options.

I would certainly not recommend the practice of giving with one hand as you take away with another, as this undermines your value of your proposition and ultimately the integrity of your brand. In the interest of finding a position that we can all agree on, not that you need agreement of membership. Here is a suggestion that might improve the integrity of your continuing education assessment process. Award CE-points for activities other than paid for KI training courses. The RLP® designation and listing on the Life Planner Search are part of the brand of Kinder Insitute of Life Planning. We are not an umbrella for everything that falls under the term “life planning”. We are leaders in the life planning methodology that George Kinder developed and that Louis Vollebregt, Ed Jacobson, Mary Zimmerman, and other trainers refined. It only makes sense that we would accept CE-points for programs we deliver. We have also made the CE-points easy and economical to earn over a two-year period. These are not onerous requirements.

To do anything other than this suggests that you think you have a monopoly on life planning. That KI is the only authority on the matter. We do not think that we have a monopoly on life planning. However, we are the only company that delivers the Registered Life Planner® designation, and we are the only authority on the methodology we teach.

Here is a definition of continuing professional development from the CII What is CPD? | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Here too is an explanation of what constitutes Suitable CPD activities | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Nowhere does it suggest that activities not provided by the CII are excluded.
Just a suggestion. In the meantime I will do my best to support the KI programme, but my heart is with those RLPs who fall short of meeting your expectations and requirements. Many thanks.

Kind regards,


Steve

Registered Life Planners to lose their status and listing

I was shocked recently to discover that I had been demoted on the Kinder Institute (KI) website of listed life planners. Not only am I no longer listed as a Master Life Planner. I have been listed as though I am inactive.

I can assure you I am very much active. I have been life planning hundreds of people for over a decade. I life plan seven days a week, often as much as eight hours a day.

KI tell me that there has always been a rule (?) where if I did not continue attending KI Mastery classes (£375 for 8 hours) once every two years, that I will lose the designation RLP after my name. I cannot for the life of me remember such a rule.

Life planning is not like financial planning where the rules keep changing. On the contrary, I have discovered that the rules have long been written. In Japan, the practice can be traced back some 12,000 years. I am puzzled by this.

The listing is where you find a life planner. I was wondering if it might be a good idea to run an independent register. Lest we forget. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Here is the chain of correspondence:

On Mar 26, 2021, at 4:20 AM, Steve Conley <steve.conley@aolp.co.uk> wrote:
Hi George,


I hope you are keeping well. I was wondering if you were aware of what has happened with your registration listings.


One of my members told me that I was no longer an active registered life planner on your website. I appreciate we all need to refresh our stance on listings and websites from time to time. And nothing is fixed in the long run. But this was disappointing news for me, as I actively promote your service to my members. And I assure you I am very much an active life planner. And have been since first registered.


Your RLP training programme was a significant investment for me at the time I became registered (and still is for new members). Being listed on your website was one of the attractions of joining your programme. I do not recall any mention of a requirement to keep investing in ongoing training with the Institute in order to stay registered or listed with you when I first made the decision to become a registered life planner. Or that I would be listed as if I was dormant if I did not regularly attend Mastery. I have even been downgraded from a Master Life Planner. As if the Mastery training I invested in for those early years counted for nought. I can confirm that I have remained very active these past 10 years, as I mentioned in our last communication. And, I have remained very loyal to you and life planning movement generally. I continue to talk highly of your programme to my members, and in the press now I am a columnist for Money Marketing, members and readers who are even now registering on your training programme on the back of my recommendation this year.


I am a supporter of the Institute. I remind you that I am not competing with you. I coach life planners one-to-one, when they are not intermediaries, to help them establish and develop a successful non-intermediating financial planning firm (using my proposition development skills learnt at HSBC). I provide ongoing one-to-one support. I use my own methods. I leave training groups to the likes of you and the other life planner trainers. I am often asked to recommend training programmes and have had no hesitation in highly recommending your training programme to advance the skills of my membership.


I just find your stance on listing misleading. It suggests to those people seeking life planners that unless you are recorded as “active”, you must be dormant. Perhaps, you can find another term for those who can continue attending Mastery training courses with you on an ongoing basis. Otherwise the RLP loses its value, for me and other RLPs.


Or maybe perhaps you can warn new applicants in bold writing that when they invest to become a Registered Life Planner, it is not a one off cost. That they will only be recorded as “active” if they continue to invest in your programme every year thereafter for a lifetime.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my feedback.

Kind regards, 

Steve

On 26/03/2021 19:37 Lora Woodward <lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com> wrote:

Hi Steve,


Many thanks for your email, and I’m so sorry that you did not hear directly from the Kinder Institute team about the changes to our continuing education program and Life Planner Search. I certainly understand your disappointment given the circumstances. 


To bring you up to speed on the changes we’ve made:

  • We found that the title of “Master of Life Planning” was causing some confusion around there being a separate designation that could be earned. There has always been just one designation and that is Registered Life Planner®. The Life Planning Mastery sessions are part of the continuing education program set up to maintain the RLP® designation. 
  • While it sounds like you were not aware of it, we have always had a continuing education program for the Registered Life Planner® designation. However, we have not always been very precise in checking for CE points because in many countries we first had to make sure we really offered enough opportunities to acquire the necessary CE-points to meet the requirements. We feel that that is the case right now given our ability to use Zoom to host global training modules.
  • We announced this fall that at the beginning of 2021, those with the Registered Life Planner® designation were expected to keep their skills sharp by attending at least eight hours of continuing education every two years, and it could be achieved by any of the following means:
    • Life Planning Mastery (8 hours) offered multiple times annually in alternating time zones
    • Life Planning Mastery Shorts (2 hours) offered online monthly
    • Inner Listening for Life Planners (up to 2 hours)*
    • The Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training (16 hours)**
    • EVOKE® Life Planning Training (36-40 hours)***
  • We offered a grace period to meet these requirements. 
    • If you became an RLP® prior to 2018 and a have attended eight hours of Life Planning Mastery between 2018-2020, then your status would be adjusted to Active Registered Life Planner® at the start of 2021, and those that do not meet that expectation, will be listed as Registered Life Planner®. [Steve, according to our records you last attended an LPM in March 2017.]  
    • If you earned the RLP® designation between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, then you will be listed as Active Registered Life Planner® at the start of 2021. 
    • If you fall outside of the requirement window for being considered “active”, we will update your listing to active if you commit to earning the 8 hours of CEs within the first two quarters of the year. [Steve, our next LPM is Friday 9th April from 9am to 5pm BST and will satisfy the CE requirement for the next two years and we will mark you as “Active” as soon as you commit.] 
  • Between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022, we expect everyone with the Registered Life Planner® designation to stay current on their skills by attending at least eight hours of CEUs within a two-year period. 

*Attend a meditation retreat or series of meditation classes with George Kinder and we’ll count 20% of the time (not more than a total of 2 hours) toward the RLP® continuing education requirement. For example, if you attended a two-day meditation retreat with George Kinder that totaled 12 hours, then 2 of those hours would count as CE.

**Repeat the Seven Stages of Money Maturity Workshop® for 50% off the standard price, space permitting.

***Repeat the EVOKE® Life Planning Training for 25% off the standard price, space permitting.

We began communicating the updated CE requirements in our November e-newsletter and continued to include messaging in subsequent monthly e-newsletters and e-blasts to RLPs about our CE programs. We also held two Zoom Community Calls in December with RLPs so we could share the updates and address any concerns. Because we know that not all RLPs read the monthly and promotional communications nor could attend the Zoom meetings, Maryellen Grady sent two direct communications to you and all RLPs, “Announcements for the RLP(R) Community”, that offered a comprehensive update on the changes that were happening at Kinder Institute [emails are included at the bottom of this thread]. I say all this to show that we tried to reach you and others, but it seems that our approach still had some gaps. 


We know that you are active in your use of the Life Planning skills you’ve been taught. The continuing education requirement is intended to ensure those who are active are using the most up-to-date practices as we continue to refine the EVOKE® method. We do let advisers new to our program know of the continuing education requirements when they learn about the Registered Life Planner® designation.


We value you as a leader in the Life Planning community and the broader financial services industry. You are a huge advocate of life planning, and we want to do right by you. What do you suggest? We would love to have you attend the upcoming LPM on Friday 9th April. Can you make it?


I hope this email helps clarify the thinking of George and the Kinder Institute team, and we look forward to continuing to have you as an advocate of our programme. 

Please be in touch with your additional good thinking on how we can ensure that those who have supported us the longest are not missed in our efforts to provide the strongest programme possible.
Kindest regards,

Lora

Today I wrote

Hi Lora,

Firstly, let me say that I, and every RLP I have spoken to on this matter, have the utmost respect, admiration, and deep affection for George, and for everything he has done. We are immensely grateful for his work. And we all are deeply indebted to this remarkable man for what he has shared with us. He is undoubtedly the acknowledged father of the life planning movement. Thank you George from all of us.


Lora. Thank you for explaining the changes.


I have to say I am deeply saddened by the news. Not just for myself. But also for all those loyal RLPs who invested heavily in your programme and earned the converted badge, Registered Life Planner (c), over many years of practice and to be proudly listed on planner search results at KI. A place where the public might surely go first to find active life planners.

You see, this is not how “continuing education” works.


I can only give myself as an example. I will let other RLPs speak for themselves, although I will say that those few who I have spoken to about this are also deeply saddened by the news. You have some famous practicing life planners, and staunch advocates of KI, on the list of “inactive” RLPs, that may be equally insulted and also seem soon to lose their RLP status as well, should they fail to comply with your expectations. How very demoralising.


George, you wrote to me last year to check that my activities were not devaluing the status of the RLP badge. I assured you they weren’t. On the contrary, I elevate your proposition to my membership and readers. I have to say, you could not have devalued the status of a badge, one so courageously and relentlessly earned, any more than this.


Lora. You talk of rules that have always been. I apologise. I have been a member of KI for a decade, and I cannot recollect such rules. For example, if I am not mistaken I was actually listed on Planner Search Results as Master of Life Planning. I had expected that I had earned a badge for life, the RLP badge. Had I not thought this to be the case I might have hesitated for one moment at purchase. I thought I was buying, not renting.


I assure you my life planning skills are sharp and current. I have been an active life planner these past 10 years. I have researched the origins of life planning in many faiths, cultures, and traditions and traced back life planning practices many thousands of years. For example, in Shinto philosophy the practices I use now date back some 12,000 years. I have published my findings, and am therefore an authority on the matter. I life plan eight hours a day, every day, and include weekends. An RLP said to me when they heard the news of my inactivity, that I am probably the most active life planner you have on your list. Also, I could teach RLPs a thing or two about life planning from my extensive investigations and studies. I could probably teach more than be taught. If there was a PhD awarded for life planning, I would probably have earnt it. To suggest I am not sharp or staying current in my skills is rather insulting.


I would certainly not recommend the practice of giving with one hand as you take away with another, as this undermines your value of your proposition and ultimately the integrity of your brand. In the interest of finding a position that we can all agree on, not that you need agreement of membership. Here is a suggestion that might improve the integrity of your continuing education assessment process. Award CE-points for activities other than paid for KI training courses.


To do anything other than this suggests that you think you have a monopoly on life planning. That KI is the only authority on the matter.


Here is a definition of continuing professional development from the CII What is CPD? | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Here too is an explanation of what constitutes Suitable CPD activities | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Nowhere does it suggest that activities not provided by the CII are excluded.

Just a suggestion. In the meantime I will do my best to support the KI programme, but my heart is with those RLPs who fall short of meeting your expectations and requirements.


Kind regards,


Steve

My Review of “Life Centered Financial Planning”, by Mitch Anthony and Paul Armson

Life Centered Planning by Mitch & Paul

Life-Centered (Centred – if UK) Financial Planning (LCFP). This is a great book for all non-intermediating financial planners. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could not put it down until I had read it from cover to cover. I would highly recommend it as essential reading for any financial planner looking to be resilient and future ready.

Money-centred financial planning value propositions are unsustainable and eroding in value, due to technology and algorithms being widely available for little or no cost. The cult programming of a product sales mentality is declining. So too has prognosticating and soothsaying. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Reward mechanisms have distorted consumer outcomes, no doubt.

We should all de-commoditise our value propositions. Advisers must human up to survive in this digital age.

Advisers must understand their clients to make suitable recommendations

Advisers should be biographers. Echoes here of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: Act 1 Where they’ve been, Act 2 where they are at, Act 3 where they are going. Understanding backstory and history, making forward planning meetings, and creating a client’s personal timeline of life transitions.

The greatest skills of an adviser are humility and gratitude.

NIFPs and LCFPs agree. There does not need to be discussion about specific investments or products in a commoditised market. When a NIFP creates a client asset (not under adviser management) through a plan then no funds or products need to be sold. NIFPs go a step further than LCFPs.

NIFPs produce a financial plan to create wealth. The business plan of you. Extremely helpful for those 95% of prospects falling under the net worth threshold. We overcome the “can’t afford the fee” argument with masterclasses and subscriptions.

Wealth management is for the wealthy, with those asset minimums and net worth thresholds (spending, saving, protecting, investing, giving).

Products manage wealth of the wealthy, plans create wealth.

NIFPs do not need to dismiss client assets not under management as irrelevant. The business. The inheritance. We treat an asset as an asset. LCFPs dismiss these assets in the cash flow forecast.

NIFPs would add Wisdom (education/ literacy) and Legacy (inheritance/ succession) either side of the Security and Freedom objectives. As wealth grows. Suffering to Wisdom. Wisdom to Security. Security to Freedom. Freedom to Legacy.

NIFPs would add “service to others” to areas of life to be considered. Everything else under The GAME Plan compass appears under ROL. On the basis that NIFPs are purpose coaches and “our purpose” is to use our gifts in the service of others. We often spend too long in life as the perpetual pupil and forget to be the teacher.

An NIFP would add “making the world a better place” to desired lifestyle. That is, add self-transcendence to self-actualisation (in the words of Abraham Maslow). Otherwise, life-centred seems self-centred.

Where NIFPs differ from LCFPs most is the order of planning. NIFPs consider where the client would “like to be”, with more emphasis, and before they consider “where they are”. Goals are considered before life transitions.

If we start “where they are at”, we may misjudge where they “want to be”. We risk dismissing the goal, as an unrealistic expectation (too big a step in the short term). We say it is not realistic. Or achievable. We risk excluding it from our planning too early in the process. This is what NIFPs call the exhaustive cycle. Outcomes diminish as the client “gets the best life possible from the money they have”, rather than opening the box of boundless possibilities and considering the money the client could have or create. Wealth creation planning. Productive cycle.

Transitions are often obstacles, and we need the inspiring goals to overcome them. For example, caring for an elderly parent (transition) can often be an obstacle to a strong desire to travel (goal). Dare to dream and create the vision. Then produce the project plan whilst we are inspired. While our light/ lamp/ torch is lit. Open the box of possibilities.

In short. The LCFP excludes important wealth creation planning (to bridge the gap) from the value proposition (i.e., a business plan for that dismissed business asset).

The LCFP seems to be fee-only. Rather than asset based. But then there were some references to do this LCFP and, “they will trust you with all their money”. Or “The assets will come”. This is not an objective for a NIFP.

Things to say you do at a cocktail party to avoid embarrassment, I think NIFP works for me more than LCFP. Though I don’t get invited to many parties to put my theory to the test, especially nowadays. Maybe less so after LCFPs read my review. And then there’s living in Spilsby.

Bringing together NIFP and LCFP.

Get the best life possible and leave the world a better place with the money they have and can create.

Fabulous!

If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you.
https://lnkd.in/eK-zG6u
☎️ 07850 10 20 70
📧 steve@aolp.co
📲 Direct Message

HAPNAV – The Happiness Navigator!

HapNav – The Happiness Navigator – http://www.hapnav.com

We want to put people in control of their finances. We have the technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. HapNav, the Happiness Navigator. Can we succeed?

We want to re-make the wealth cyberspace for people. We want to fix some of the problems that have handicapped the financial industry for decades. Too much power and too much personal data, reside with the “product silos” – the big Product Providers and their Distributors. People are fed up with the lack of controls.

“I spent my entire career championing information sharing, openness and personal empowerment online — but I have become increasingly concerned as power in financial services is weighted against the individual and stacked in favour of providers and their distributors.” Steve Conley, Founder CEO HapNav Ltd and the Academy of Life Planning.

We need a push to give individuals greater control over their data.

We need to offer a portal where people can use a single sign-on for any financial service or product and personal data to be stored in “pods,” or personal online data stores, controlled by the user.

That is why this new, updated wealth tech app, HapNav, will enable the kind of person-to-person sharing and collaboration that has helped make the wealth industry so successful over the years, while leaving the user in control.

It is rather like in the NHS. Imagine addressing the long-standing problem of incompatible medical records. What if the NHS could give everyone an “All About Me” form with various doctors and other service providers able to update that record even as it remains in the user’s control? Now imagine that for your finances!

Regulators worldwide have voiced similar complaints. The product silos are facing tougher new rules where they are challenged on locking clients into service through control of data, then tapping into assets and charging fees without delivering services.

Our answer to the problem is technology that gives individuals more power.

“Pods,” personal online data stores, are a key technical ingredient to achieve that goal. The idea is that each person could control his or her own data — cash flows modelled, open banking platforms, product comparison sites, risk metric questionnaire — in an individual data safe, typically a sliver of server space.

Companies could gain access to a person’s data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific task like processing an investment application or delivering a personalised ad. They could link to and use personal information selectively, but not store it.

Our vision of personal data sovereignty stands in sharp contrast to the harvest-and-hoard model of the big product companies and their distributors.

This is about making markets thrive. Personal data in pods can be linked with public and private data to create new applications. Start-ups can play a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of this new technology. Technology has become faster and smarter — and pressure on the big tech companies is mounting.

So why not offer individuals better ways to control their data.

Our goal is to improve wealth and wellbeing for the client. And it is a fundamental change in how we share information in financial services.

This is a fix-it project. Our long view is a thriving decentralized marketplace, fuelled by personal empowerment and collaboration.

This is not a pipe dream. This is already happening!

Check out what Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the grandfather of the world-wide-web has to say in the links below.

For more information visit: HOME (hapnav.com)

See These Articles:
He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.    Tim Berners-Lee wants to put people in control of their personal data. He has technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. Can he succeed?
Father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee prepares ‘do-over’   Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who was knighted for inventing the internet navigation system known as the World Wide Web, wants to re-make cyberspace once again.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”
― Rumi

Set up your own Non-Intermediating Financial Planning business.

In a few months from now …

Your established, successful, standalone business. 100% owned by you. Your very own income producing asset. Turnover £50k, £100k, £150k per annum easily achievable, depending on days of week you are willing to commit. One, two, three?

Your time is your own. You are your own boss. No non-sensical limiting regulations to deal with. Such as having to pass every tweet, post, or blog past a department to sign off. No ridiculous overheads increasing year on year outside of your control. No liabilities chasing you to the grave. No liabilities passed to you for the fault of others.

Your work combines, what you are good at, with what you love, what the world needs, and what you get paid for. In Japan, this is called your Ikigai. We call it your purpose. Your purpose is work that doesn’t feel like work, from which you may never wish to retire.

You have a proven, tried and tested, out of the box solution, so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. All templates for client documentation, processes, exercises, forms. Licence free. No intellectual property rights to consider. Completely open source. Free to use, share and modify. Up and running in weeks not years.

You have unlimited access by email to our support desk to ask unlimited questions. Fast response assured, within 24 hours typically. Multiple times the experience of a single business. Experts, experienced and insured to advise you on what to do and what not to do.

Market leaders. Market innovators. Multi-award winners. Giving you personal day-to-day advice on how to set up and run a successful business.

Part of a community of likeminded entrepreneurs willing to share and support you. Meeting weekly (attendance optional). All that experience available to you real time. Plus, structured peer mentorship available via closed social media group.

Personalised one-on-one support tailored to your requirements. One-hour mentorship, one-to-one, every month, with an accredited practicing successful Game Plan practitioner, and certified mentor. Expert, experienced, insured.

High customer satisfaction ratings assured. Customers are delighted by the process. Blown away by the transformational nature of change. Your customers will have access to HapNav, the Happiness Navigator. This is a ground-breaking wealth tech app that puts your customers in control of their finances at prices everyone can afford.

You will have your own Unique Benefit System. Your UBS makes you an authority in your field. It makes you the number one in your niche market segment. You are hugely differentiated, standing out for all the right reasons, with little in the way of competition.

You are working from home, or anywhere. One member is even planning to sail around Britain hooking up to the internet via star nav as he runs his business. Imagine that kind of freedom in the workplace.

Fast growth in a fledgling market. Your business strategy is aligned with the Four Ps (Purpose, People, Planet, Profit) making it a Firm of Endearment. FoEs can expect financial performance to outperform the market, historically by as much as an extra 2% per month in turnover growth.

You will move from a lifestyle business where you exchange your time for money, to a fully scalable equity-based business, where you exchange your knowhow for money. With our support on building your 1-2-many Masterclasses, and nocturnal income generating 0-2-many Netflix-style subscription services (includes pre-recorded, podcasts, videos, and eBooks). This gives you a great work-life balance. Where your time is your own.

You live your best life, by helping others live theirs.

You make the world a better place for you having lived, by helping others be the change that they wish to see in the world.

The Game Plan solution for your clients, helps them to identify their purpose and live on purpose, producing income from it to provide the financial architecture for contented living. The optimal strategy for contented living.

Avoiding the highway robbers … and enjoying wealth in every area of your life, as you help your customers avoid the highway robbers … and enjoy wealth in every area of theirs.

Ticking all the boxes in today’s drivers for change.

A life and money planner and coach, following the biggest life and money crisis the world has ever seen. Right place, right time, right skills.

Your talent is your gift, your purpose is to use your gift in the service of others.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.

Is commoditisation of investment returns the future?

Commoditisation is viewed by some financial advice firms as a threat, but it should be seen as an opportunity, particularly with the unbundling of advice and distribution and the comfort consumers have found with “Netflix-style” digital delivery of advisory services in a post-covid economy.

There is much talk about the growing issue, or problem, of commoditisation of investment returns amongst academics and financial service practitioners alike since the arrival of Vanguard’s pension in the UK this time last year. But does it represent the future for financial advisers and how can the unbundling of holistic planning from product-focused advice and associated technology best be exploited to take advantage of the opportunities it presents?

In September 2020, the UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, announced that, “The overwhelming majority of retail investors are best served by readily understood, well-diversified and low-cost investments which are already available from a range of providers, but many retail investors do not choose these. We are seeing some progress on reforms of governance and a focus on making investments better value for money, but progress is still slower than we might like.”

Where a service is widely available, relatively indistinguishable, and easily interchangeable with one provided by another company, it is said to be a commodity. In commoditised markets consumers make purchasing decisions solely based on price.

The only way firms can compete to sell products or services in commoditised markets is by offering consumers perks, such as ancillary sales or extended warranties. That is, bundling investment returns with related offerings to create attractive packaging that has a unique combination of offerings – even if the offerings themselves are commonplace. Alternatively, firms might market products with varying levels of after-purchase services.

For example, “in a world of call centres and robo-advice, St. James’s Place believe in the face-to-face approach”. However, this perk, a face-to-face adviser (commonly referred to as investment returns with a tie) might come under increasing pressure in a socially distanced community in the post-covid economy. And the additional half-percent ongoing fund charge is difficult to justify if the clients are not seen or receive little more than the quarterly investment returns statement available from direct-to-consumer platforms.

Once unique features, like investment returns, become mainstream and readily available everywhere, products that lack distinguishing features tend to eventually decline in price and cause dwindling profit margins. It makes no sense that a firm that can make fantastic returns in one area, would want to provide services in an area where it cannot generate excellent margins. The question is, what other areas might firms consider?

Firms strive to delay commoditisation, as long as possible, in order to maintain the special status of their service offering. Once alternatives are identified, you will begin to see a huge amount of industry consolidation and firms selling or closing businesses to get back to where they can really earn excellent returns.

Small firms are simply not price competitive. There will just be too many mutual fund distributors for anyone to earn a decent margin.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the commoditisation of investment returns.

“Maybe there is a market for financial advisers to the rich and stupid but in my experience these advisers offer virtually nothing and charge a fortune for it.  All the advice you need is free on the internet.  Advisers offer no magical door to better products or decisions. All they want is to plug into your assets and charge a fee.” -Telegraph reader 18th July 2020.

In the UK, 87% of all adults used the internet daily or almost every day in 2019, consumers have a lot of choice at their fingertips when it comes to selecting investment returns. They increasingly look to the web to help invest. The increased competition this generates in the online marketplace means there is less differentiation between the available services, platforms and underlying funds, and as one service becomes indistinguishable from another the client has easy access to, commoditisation will inevitably occur.

With the internet’s growing raft of blogs and websites specialising in reviews on topics such as Evidence Based Investing and service comparison sites such as Lang Cat, the consumer has much more scope to select platforms and investment returns on the basis of costs and online reputation. This is good news for the client, but what about the financial adviser?

The devaluation of product-focused advice?

Commoditisation is viewed alternatively as either a threat or an opportunity by those within the financial advice industry.

As online competition increases with the growth of platform distributed funds, prices of adviser distributed funds are continually driven down and this can reduce profit margins and trigger concerns about the gradual devaluing of the financial intermediary.

Whilst from a business perspective it makes a great deal of sense for adviser-distributors to systemise and standardise the more routine and repetitive tasks that involve less skilled adviser input because there are obvious cost-saving benefits associated with it – there is only so far this strategy can take you in maintaining margins.

Advice firms offering a ‘value’ commoditised service also run the risk of alienating potential clients who are prepared to pay higher fees for a bespoke service, because the client will assume the staff are less experienced in specialist areas of finance if ‘the computer’ does most of the work.  

Some intermediaries resist commoditisation to protect their traditional work patterns by offering consumers ancillary enticements. This might work for a while. Resistance might prove futile in the long run. There is always the risk that it could, in time, render the boutique intermediary an endangered species, superseded by highly efficient ‘super-asset-hooverer’ firms, and that potential students might be discouraged from training to become a financial adviser in a commoditised marketplace.

These concerns are certainly valid, as is the fact that the growing availability of non-advised sales from product providers and “robo-advised” sales online is perhaps generating a dangerous culture of speculative ‘DIY investing. The FCA says, “Some of the most serious harms we see relate to investments outside our regulatory perimeter and online scams, many based overseas.”

However, this risk can be mitigated through the emergence of generic advice and financial education models, the fiduciary non-intermediating advisers, and the many “done-for-you” auto-correcting well-diversified low-cost investment solutions to choose from that deliver market returns.

A non-intermediating financial planning movement is emerging from the perfect storm of commoditised investment returns and a post-covid economy. It has long been argued that non-intermediating models whilst virtuous have not been commercial. The problem is, that model really hasn’t existed. Until now!

Now financial planners can access structure and resources to run a successful non-intermediating business out of the gate.

With the advent of Zoom Meetings and “Netflix-style” video platforms, one-to-many Masterclasses and none-to-many subscription services are emerging for non-intermediating financial planning firms.

The challenge has been that consumers are unwilling to pay for services that were previously perceived to be free, such as PRISM (protection – retirement- investments – savings – mortgages) selling systems, based on product needs analysis and plugging shortfalls. So, these processes have been replaced by Life Planning, Purpose Coaching, Wealth Building Planning, etc. Services that the public value and will pay for. And suddenly technology has facilitated the plugging of the “advice gap” and the democratisation of financial planning services to the mass public.

A better-informed public accelerates commoditisation of markets. Generic advice and financial education – with professional governance correctly attributed to professional bodies – can see you up and running with investment returns and set for life in the time it takes to open an online bank account.

The conduct authority is pleased as progress on best service for retail investors is delivered quicker than they expected and there can be no mis-selling if advisers cannot sell.

The opportunities for commoditised services

Commoditisation has its detractors, particularly in more traditional advice firms but, managed wisely, it also represents big opportunities for innovative adviser-distributor service providers.

Advice can be split from distribution and either run as part one of a two-part process or, like with Wills and Estate Planning, as a separate non-regulated firm.

It gives us an incentive to embrace technology and seek out new ways to deliver services more efficiently, whilst adding value and differentiating our services for clients in new ways.

All advice processes, however specialist, include elements of repetition and administrative routine, and this is where many of the opportunities lie. Firms are, more than ever, under pressure to find new ways of automating or outsourcing these elements, in order to continue providing cost-effective services in an increasingly commoditised environment.

Technology and software development is now relatively inexpensive and easily accessible and this is where the key lies for commoditising future advice services.

Sub-contracting out

Traditional advice firms are increasingly taking advantage of the commoditised market themselves, by sub-contracting paraplanning services to specialist, commoditised providers.

This trend is growing in popularity because it both reduces a firm’s overheads and can allow them to take on work that would not otherwise have been their speciality.

Commoditisation can also be used to help control risk. Standardised forms can be more easily controlled, and systems put in place to review and update them at regular, planned intervals.

Firms are even now considering sub-contracting regulated product-focused advice, by selling assets under management to highly efficient ‘super-asset-hooverer’ firms for 2%. £10m AUM equals an injection of £200k to fund the transition to a non-intermediating financial planning Netflix-style model.

Initial non-intermediating income is secured from planning and recurring revenue is secured from subscription services incorporating video libraries and client-centred financial planning apps, with occasional step up to and down from Masterclasses on specific relevant topics.

Conclusion

As regulatory pressures mount, competition increases, budgets are squeezed and cutting-edge technology becomes ever more accessible, there is less and less justification for ignoring the many opportunities presented in a post-covid economy by the efficient commoditisation of our more routine financial advice services – that do not need to be regulated.

There will always be a place in the financial advice arena for the high-end bespoke regulated adviser but for the typical off-the-street investor I believe that commoditisation, non-intermediating financial planning and subscription “Netflix-style” models is where the future of mainstream advice services lie.

If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you.

http://www.academyoflifeplanning.com

☎️ 07850 10 20 70

📧 steve@aolp.co

📲 Direct Message

The 7 Prospects You Turn Away: If your name’s not on the list you’re not coming in.

Should you be offering a financial planning service in addition to your product advice/ intermediation service? Could that bring in eight times more clients?

Imagine eight people looking for financial planning.

Picture this. There are two financial planners. A conventional asset-based-fee financial planner (FP) and a fee-for-service non-intermediating financial planner (NIFP).

What if I told you that FP would turn all but one prospects away, as he could not figure out how he was going to get paid. But NIFP would see all eight and get paid.

Would you say that was an unlikely scenario?

The prospect that both would see had a windfall of over £100,000 of investable assets and wanted to know what best to do with it.

FP delivered a planning and intermediation service. NIFP delivered a planning and triage to several wealth management services, direct to consumer (D2C) platform, discretionary, advisory channels, and other ideas. Both FP and NIFP were paid £1,500 for planning, and FP earnt an additional implementation fee and ongoing fees.

Now let us consider the seven prospects FP would not see.

1. The prospect who was a fan of Andrew Hallam, author of Millionaire Expat: How to Build Wealth Living Overseas, who wanted to run his own money on a D2C platform using passive investments.

2. The residential property portfolio entrepreneur.

3. The business owner who said her business was her pension.

4. The member of a workplace pension scheme.

5. The client of the local stockbrokers who was in their discretionary service.

6. The prospect with less than £100,000 in investable assets.

7. The prospect in lockdown, or the other side of the country, who could only work digitally.

You see. As Robert Kiyosaki said,

“The rich don’t get rich by working, the rich get rich by creating an asset.”

FP thought there had to be an asset, and he had to run the asset to get paid. NIFP recognised that the asset was just an asset in the cash flow forecast, and if the client didn’t have one the plan was to create one.

Because NIFP didn’t require wet signatures she could service clients digitally, from anywhere.

Because NIFP didn’t make personalised product recommendations, she could deliver generic advice and financial education in groups. Her one-to-one coaching was £1,500. Her Masterclasses were £150 and she ran groups of 10. She recorded her Masterclasses, and placed recordings behind authentication and offered a client-centric cash flow app to subscribers for £15 per month, with 100 subscribers.

NIFP’s Masterclass was titled, “How to create a £100,000 asset with the business plan of you.”

Non-intermediating financial planning is the part of the financial planning process you do before product research, recommendation and implementation. Otherwise known as life planning, lifestyle financial planning, cash flow forecasting, planning the client, etc.. Where it is done in isolation from a regulated activity, it is a non-regulated activity.

If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you.

http://www.academyoflifeplanning.com

☎️ 07850 10 20 70
📧 steve@aolp.co
📲 Direct Message

How important is life planning in the future of financial planning?

Money Marketing Interactive 16 -19 November 2020

There are three key reasons why life planning is now the must learn skill for financial planners, discover more by joining me at Money Marketing Interactive 16 – 19 November 2020. Find out more and register at mmi.moneymarketing.co.uk.

The three key reasons are:

The commoditisation of investment returns.

The underserved need a life plan in these challenging times.

Non-intermediating financial planning can be delivered digitally to larger audiences.

What I mean by that is …

1. Because of the commoditisation of investment returns.

Would you agree, advisers are either people centred, or money centred. That is, as a regulated adviser in the UK, as an adviser-distributor, you are either leaning towards life planning, or towards product distribution. Do you know people like that, one or the other? I’m not saying you can’t be both. It’s just that problems may arise when you say you’re doing one thing, when in fact you are doing the other. Yes or no?

In the UK, 9 in 10 adviser incentives reward product distribution. Do you agree that incentives drive outcomes? That is asset-based fees drive more asset sales? So, your service could be leaning one way, whilst the way you get paid could be leaning the other.

Have you ever met a client that has their money tied up in a workplace pension, residential property, with a discretionary manager, or on a D2C platform, looking for financial advice, and you can’t figure how you are going to get paid? There’s no sniff of new assets, and you conclude perhaps that client isn’t right for you?

Don’t worry. I don’t anticipate any time soon there will be dramatic changes from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for 2021 on fees. Though things have changed in other markets, such as Australia and India, I don’t see the UK’s FCA changing anything, any time soon. What was mentioned in June’s Policy Statement, disappeared from September’s “Call For Input: The Consumer Investment Market”. That is the topic of conflicted remuneration, and in particular the separation of advice and distribution or the prospect of yearly opt-ins.

According to The Transparency Taskforce, “It is obvious that market dynamics, incentives and vested interests have an impact on market behaviour, market conduct and decision-making. We believe this helps to explain why many value leaks (such as conflicted remuneration) are not being given the attention they deserve.”

“Sometimes, it is worse than “ignoring”, that is there is unjustifiable push back to maintain the status quo. This is not because of a flaw in the solution (in this case fee-for-service) but because the merits of the solution somehow represent an “inconvenient truth” for incumbent parties such as the existing asset managers, custodians, trustees, financial advisers, other services providers and so on.”

The key driver for change on fees for 2021 will be, in my opinion, the commoditisation of investment returns, following Vanguard’s pension launch in Dec 2019. Would you agree that investment returns are now commoditised? Yes or no?

UK intermediaries serve the 5% with investable assets over £100k (source: ONS), and it will be increasingly difficult to justify the cost of intermediation as a percentage of assets to a savvy investor in a commoditised market. Especially with the ascent of quality information on the internet and D2C platforms. Do you agree?

So, the life planning service, including cash flow forecasting, will be more important for your savvy wealthy investors who will be increasingly looking to pay on a fee-for-service basis, would you agree?

2. Because the underserved need a life plan in these challenging times.

Advisers can continue to serve the wealthy with life planning. That leaves 95% underserved on account of their limited wealth. Unfortunately, that also means if they lose their job, like many have now, it’s time to panic, because money can run out quickly when there are no more pay cheques to fund their lifestyle.

Would you agree with me that products manage wealth, and no products create wealth – people do with their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, industry, and planning. As Robert Kiyosaki says, the rich don’t work to get rich, they create assets.

Would you agree that what the 95% need urgently are plans to create assets, like business plans, what we need to sell to the underserved right now are plans not products? Plans to improve wealth over the next few years in a post coronavirus economy. More so than plans to create wealth for a rainy day in the distant future. Isn’t that rainy day here, right now? Yes or no?

Research shows that one-in-two working adults are considering a career change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in the next 12 months. Most financial planners are looking at a time-line of five years plus, yes or no? What we do at the Academy is identify the client’s life purpose and preferred vocation, and where wealth is required we produce a three-year P&L of a side hustle to drop into the cash flow forecast. Is this something you could add to your financial planning tool kit?

This produces a growing income-producing asset to increase financial security short-term and begin to move the client to greater financial freedom in the long-term, where eventually they can stop working for a living and start living the life plan from the wealth they create.

You see, a non-intermediating financial planner (NIFP) sells plans not products.

3. Because non-intermediating financial planning can be delivered digitally to larger audiences.

When you remove product advice from financial planning what you are left with is life planning.

By removing personal recommendations NIFPs can advise groups. When we remove the need for wet signatures NIFPs can deliver digitally. When we remove selling, we remove the risk of mis-selling and that is why financial planning is a non-regulated activity that can be delivered at scale. But most importantly, when we remove products what we are left with are plans. Would you agree?

Would you agree that it is challenging for a regulated adviser to make more than 60 to 100 personal recommendations a year? When you exchange your time for money, your time is limited and so is your capacity and the money. Yes or no?

NIFPs exchange their knowhow for money. That is, generic advice and financial information. Knowhow can be delivered digitally online via eBooks and video courses. Your knowhow is unlimited, so is your audience. And, when your audience grows, the cost can drop, and you can serve many hundreds of underserved at lower cost. You can even serve while you sleep! Yes or no?

But financial planning should include cash flow modelling, do you agree? And, it would be challenging to do 100 Voyant reports all at the same time, or even while you sleep. Yes or no?

So, would you agree that what you need is a different process? A new, disruptive App perhaps, where many clients can enter data all at the same time in an online Masterclasses or while working through a workbook? A client-centred cash flow modeller, as you deliver your lessons on evidenced based investing, ESG filtering, behavioural investing, etc., your audience inputs data that they don’t even need to share. Data that they could share with other advisers, if they wished to. An app that is integrated with open banking applications and a host of other apps, that is portable from one adviser to the next. An app that avoids the value leak that is client churn! Would that be helpful, yes or no?

Well that’s exactly what we offer at AoLP. We have successfully democratised financial planning for the underserved, and our portable processes and revolutionary applications are available to plug the advice gap with a vastly different client-centred planning approach. We call it the GAME Plan.

If you would like to know more, please join us at Money Marketing Interactive or message us for more details.

If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you.

http://www.academyoflifeplanning.com

☎️ 07850 10 20 70
📧 steve@aolp.co
📲 Direct Message

Academy of Life Planning and The Financial Freedom Forecaster

The Academy of Life Planning now offers a digital end-to-end non-intermediating financial planning ‘off the peg business in a box’ for a global network of advisers, as featured in the article in New Model Adviser in March 2020. And, endorsed by the Kinder Institute on Twitter. It’s called The GAME Plan Generator.

Academy of Life Planning (AoLP) the world’s first non-intermediating financial planning adviser support network has launched in partnership with Envizage a WEALTHTECH100 winner in 2020, a customer-centric lifetime cash flow planning tool, as part of The Financial Freedom Forecaster.

Why might you be interested?

Perhaps you are a regulated financial adviser, facing the prospect of a second wave pandemic hitting new business income, with the regulator raising the bar on their fees and your capital adequacy whilst questioning the decency on recurring revenues.

Possibly your centralised investment proposition is being questioned during this economic crisis, and clients are increasingly benchmarking the higher returns from Vanguard direct after fees.

Potentially nine in ten prospects don’t have sufficient investable assets to be suitable as a client.

Imagine this. If as a consequence of us working together I or we could deliver to you …

Three months from now. You are looking back on a successful Masterclass, with an audience of 100 attendees each paying £495. Your digital proposition is fully scalable. Your webinar provides generic advice and financial education on, “Sensible Money: an evidence-based investment philosophy”. Through a self-directed journey of exploration, a Sparrow Capital fund on Fidelity can be viewed on Moneyhub, matched against an Oxford Risk budget, and modelled on Envizage to show the impact on future cash flows, and integrated into an AoLP financial plan, with the GAME Plan generator. By every attendee in a journey of self-exploration, all at the same time.

How would that feel?

Together we can do this …

This month’s launch from AoLP makes The GAME Plan Generator into a fully scalable digital end-to-end customer-centred financial planning experience.

The Financial Freedom Forecaster is the third of four parts of The GAME Plan Generator. The four parts are:

Goals: The Significant STORIES System: A multi-dimensional goals setting tool.

Actions: The Blockbuster ROADMAP: A project planning tool.

Means: The Financial Freedom Forecaster: A lifetime cashflow forecasting application.

Execution: The Stand & DELIVER Game Giver: A business planning tool and personal coaching.

This is the end-to-end digital delivery system of generic advice and financial education for planning firms who are members of the Academy of Life Planning adviser support network.

The AoLP lifetime cash flow planning tool is now available to purchase. For friends and supporters, a direct buy 100 months for £500 is available. For further details please visit our SHOP.

Digital is the new normal:

  • Coronavirus crisis 2020 accelerated digital delivery of financial advice
  • The pandemic has stress-tested digitalisation
  • Advisers have been forced to adopt digital channel delivery
  • Heightened financial and physical threats to the public increases demand
  • Growing acceptance and comfort with digital services
  • The wealthy expect the future wealth management relationships to be digital
  • Personal interaction still important for most
  • Growing support for fee-only financial coaching services
  • Opportunity to advise at scale for older millennials (29 to 59) and Gen X (40 to 54) who prefer on-line access and believe it results in better quality engagement.

See Digital Advice Trend Accelerates, by Robin Powell.

Because personal recommendations are excluded from the non-intermediating financial planning (NIFP) process, The GAME Plan can be delivered digitally to individuals and groups:

  • 1-to-1
  • 1-to-many
  • 0-to-many

Which makes NIFP a fully scalable digital solution for planning firms.

When did the digital NIFP process become fully scalable?

The market changed in the UK in January 2020. Investment returns became commoditised as Vanguard entered into the pensions market, mutual fund distributors began to struggle to add value. When distribution became commoditised, the opportunity arose for advice to separate as a service in its own right. For advice to stop carrying distribution.

Advice separated from distribution legally in Australia in 2019 and India in 2020.

This series of events, combined with trends in digital delivery, led to the birth of the global non-intermediating financial planning movement in March 2020, at the same time as the start of the covid-19 pandemic. A perfect storm to sink any UK adviser-distributor model.

Until recently the main obstacle to delivering a full end-to-end digital experience in NIFP was the lifetime cash flow forecast. All existing systems have been distributor-centric, that is built with the distributor in mind. While customer APIs have been introduced on some distributor platforms, e.g. Voyant GO, in practice these are far too complicated for end users.

Along came Envizage. Envizage have launched a simpler customer-centred lifetime cash flow forecast solution. Envizage, a WEALTHTECH 100 for 2020 firm, has partnered with the Academy of Life Planning (AoLP) to deliver this outside of an enterprise environment. See details of the Envizage/ AoLP partnership.

AoLP is the world’s first non-intermediating financial planner (NIFP) adviser support network. At AoLP, there is a wall between advice and distribution. AoLP delivers advice and leaves distribution decisions to the client; to choose either a mutual fund distributor or access to a D2C platform.

Adviser versus adviser-distributor, the conflicted cash-cow:

  • In the UK, two-thirds of mutual funds remain adviser-distributed, one-third via D2C platforms. In other markets, the D2C channel market share is far higher.
  • Adviser-distributors run conflicted remuneration models; 90% of advisers tap into the asset to charge c.1% based fees on the wealthy via wealth management products (fee income at risk in UK £5bn pa).
  • Wealth management products manage wealth for the wealthy; none create wealth for the unwealthy. People create wealth, not products. Unwealthy people need plans, not products.
  • Adviser-distributors just sell products. 90% of adviser-distributors run their own centralised wealth management products, studies show these fail to add value after charges compared to markets[i]. Direct schemes fetch far higher returns than distributor schemes, as intermediary fees cramp NAV.
  • All adviser-distributors are, by definition, agents of wealth managers. All wealth managers also tap into the asset to charge percentage-based fees. 90% of product providers are active managed and evidenced-based investor studies show these too fail to beat passive managed after fees, passive solutions are available for a tenth of the price.
  • Adviser-distributor thresholds are typically set at £100k of investible assets. 95% of people are disintermediated on account of their limited wealth, what the unwealthy need is wealth not products. Plans not products. Wealth creation plans. Business plans for side hustles, at a time when entrepreneurs have greater income security than employees.
  • Adviser-distributors can’t work digitally as agencies require wet signatures.
  • Adviser-distributors can’t scale, as each case requires a suitable personalised recommendation delivered 1-to-1, time is limited therefore the business is limited.
  • The regulatory risk is rising for adviser-distributor firms. Regulators globally are splitting advice and distribution, seeing the conflicts, seeing it as an incomplete transition from product seller to professional adviser. Example, Australia 2019, India 2020, etc.
  • Post-split, largest channel for distribution of mutual funds is D2C platform, e.g. India 48%.
  • Evidencing a global shift from adviser distributed funds to platform distributed funds, and a shift from active to passive managed funds. This has led to an increase in demand for NIFP.

The AoLP end-to-end digital proposition

The AoLP end-to-end digital proposition of integrated platforms is as follows:

  1. Non-Intermediating Financial Planning using The GAME Plan Generator of The Academy of Life Planning Limited, integrated with a lifetime cash flow engine.
  2. Customer-centred lifetime cash flow forecaster using Envizage, integrated with an open banking platform.
  3. Using open banking provider Moneyhub, and risk profiling from Oxford Risk.
  4. Integrated investment platform from D2C platforms market, e.g. Fidelity, integrated with Moneyhub.
  5. Underlying passive retail multi-asset investments e.g., Vanguard or Sparrow Capital listed on D2C platforms.

This is our fully scalable digital end-to-end customer journey.

Other services from AoLP

AoLP is a network of non-intermediating financial planners around the world who share our philosophy. If you are an adviser or adviser firm seeking affiliation please get in touch. If you would like to be put in touch with an AoLP member firm in your area, drop us a line to tell us, briefly, where you live, what stage of life you’re at, and what you’re looking for from a financial plan. We’ll use this information to connect you with an adviser who can help you.

We can also be of assistance to UK victims of scams seeking investigation and asset recovery. We support individuals, companies and UK financial institutions seeking the recovery of money paid out on scam investments and recovery room frauds. One in two crimes reported in the UK are scam related. We are not lawyers, and we don’t give legal advice. But if you think that you have been adversely affected by these sorts of practices, we would be happy to put you in contact with a suitable not-for-profit asset-recovery firm. Simply email us, briefly giving details about the circumstances, and we’ll try to help you.


[i] BETTER. STRONGER. FASTER. HOW DO WE REBUILD CENTRALISED INVESTMENT PROPOSITIONS FROM HERE? A market insight report from the lang cat July 2020

Potential Back End System for Non-Intermediating Financial Planners

The Academy of Life Planning attempts to solve industry-wide issues for Non-Intermediating Financial Planners. Because we are the only Non-Intermediating Financial Planning adviser support network. Here’s an example, your back-office system. As a special deal for AoLP members. Would your clients pay £5 per month for member level access to all their finances, with all the tools, on a system that can be shared with multiple advisers? Let me know your views.

The Issue:

Adviser Workstations, Cash Flow Modellers, and integrations with market participant platforms for instant portfolio valuations across GIAs, ISAs, Pensions, Savings and Deposit balances, the solutions are all adviser led experiences.

What the emerging post GDPR, potential adviser-distributor splitting, etc, market needs is a Customer led experience.

Data exists once. Sits with the client. To share with one adviser after another.

Not as current. Data sits with adviser. Customers are churned from adviser to adviser, platform to platform, with expensive data re-entry every time, and vast numbers of orphaned accounts for the disintermediated.

The Solution:

Envizage has an integration with Moneyhub a key partner of theirs. Their approach is customer led not advisor led. The plan belongs to the customer. The advisor supports the customer not vice versa. Data belongs to the customer not the advisor (GDPR). 

Envizage would be happy to work with AoLP to come up with a price and systems architecture that would work if there can be some minimum adoption numbers within our membership. They are keen on that. Their enterprise pricing model is per end user customer, not per advisor seat.

Have a play with a basic stripped down demo app at app.envizage.me.

Run through a few cases and tell me what you think.

About Envizage:

Envizage is featured in the 2020 WealthTech 100

Envizage is featured in Capgemini’s World Retail Banking Report 2019 (see pp. 10, 14, 22, 34)

Envizage is the only startup to feature in Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2018 (see p.34)

Our U.K. regulatory white paper discusses how Envizage can deliver both guidance and advice

Read about the Envizage partner ecosystem and the 21 firms in it

Further Info:

Moneyhub is by far the most comprehensive in the UK market. They tried them, Moneyinfo and about 10 other providers before choosing Moneyhub for their first UK integration (they can support others).

They have direct links into all of the platforms, and this covers 80% of UK pension assets. The likes of SJP, HL, II will not support API connects for commercial reasons, so other tech solutions must be used there.

Our view was that Moneyhub are by far the best as of today and subject to the technical constraints of the provider side of the equation.

Please could you give us a price that could work for you, on a “per end-customer per month” basis? 

Over time I’d like to lower pricing as we raise money and gain more members. 

We have been asked to treat India separately. Sorry. If we need the economics for India to be different they understand and would be happy to fit our paradigm. Envizage are quite keen to serve that market. 

Their standard pricing (for large enterprises) is as follows: 

Unique End Users/Month Per User Per Month

0 – 5,000 £5

5,001 – 10,000 £4

10,001 – 50,000 £3

50,001 – 100,000 £2

> 100,000 £1

A “user” refers to the end customer or client, not the advisor. These tiers are cumulative so If you have 7,000 unique users/month you would pay £5 for the first 5,000 (= £25,000) plus £4 for the next 2,000 (= £8,000) for a total bill that month of £33,000 for the 7,000 users (or £4.71 per user). 

If you can work with this table and modify the £ values so that it works for you, that would be great. Envisage would imagine no IFA would have 5,000+ clients but they would think of it for AOLP members as a whole rather than for each individual member.

If the base tier were substantial enough, then they would probably offer to iterate and add functionality (especially the type of stuff that we think is more universally applicable) without extra costs. Typically, they pass through the cloud hosting charges (which can add around £2,000-4,000/month) but they are happy to absorb those to start with. 

They requested that we get to a quick conclusion. They have just started a big piece of work to improve their demo web app (app.envizage.me) and are keen to include our input into their roadmap if possible. It will save them wasted work. That roadmap includes integrations with Moneyhub and Oxford Risk as well, and they can talk to the partner about a sensible commercial offer for AOLP’s benefit. 


Let me know your thoughts. Would your clients pay £5 per month for this?