It is a tough time to be a financial adviser but you are needed more than ever.

Advice firms seem to be facing more difficult decisions than ever: Consumer Duty, sustainable investment, artificial intelligence (AI), adviser-owned platforms and integrated tech stacks, to name just a few.

While it is possible to argue the Consumer Duty is merely a rerun of Treating Customers Fairly, the regulator appears very keen to do more than stamp its feet when it sees firms step out of line.

Moreover, the regulation has implications around the fee-charging model, platform selection, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and vulnerability.

I am glad my GP doesn’t face such issues as she’d have no time to be concerned with illnesses. And therein lies a major challenge.

Let us look at these subjects from a strategic planning point of view. Below is a PEST analysis, incorporating political, economic, social and technological factors that influence operation.

Political (including legislation and regulation)

The political landscape is ever more complex. Both leading parties are rolling back from climate change legislation following local elections.

The Labour party threatens to overturn the abolition of the lifetime allowance announced in the Spring Budget, while the Conservatives are considering abolishing inheritance tax.

Supposedly, the Financial Conduct Authority is an independent, non-governmental body that is responsible for regulating the UK’s financial services industry, yet it dances to the Treasury’s tune. Former FCA chief Martin Wheatley didn’t, and incurred former chancellor George Osborne’s wrath. Wheatley was replaced by Andrew Bailey, who went on to be governor of the Bank of England. Go figure.

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