RDR has changed the titles that Financial Advisors can call themselves – this article contains the differences and discusses what it all means for careers.

Names and titles are very important in financial services, which is why there are myriad ways to describe what is essentially the same job.

And it’s probably the Financial Advisors who have more names than the rest of their colleagues in the industry.

Wealth architect IFA  what%27s in a name

What will you be called after RDR?

In 2013, titles have even greater importance for Financial Advisors as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) alters the financial landscape.

Gone are the days of the tied advisor and multi-tied advisor and in their place are restricted advisors and execution-only services. However, the title of Independent Financial Advisor has survived the Financial Services Authority’s terminology cull.

The alternatives

But these titles are not the only ones around in 2013, as Financial Advisors get more creative with the monikers.

There are financial planners, wealth managers, financial life planners, and even wealth architects, to name but a few.

All of these titles are acceptable under RDR rules. It is also predicted that this year will see an increase in the number of wealth managers. Former Independent Financial Advisors, unable to fulfil the tough requirements placed on them to retain ‘independent’ status, will try to distract from their ‘restricted’ status.

Of course, being a restricted advisor is nothing to be ashamed of. Advisors pursuing this avenue still provide a valuable service to consumers.

However, the use of titles that have neither ‘independent’ nor ‘restricted’ in the title could confuse, and even mislead, consumers.

Job hunters beware

Those looking for positions in financial advice could be just as easily confused by changes implemented by RDR rule changes.

When searching for new prospects, ensure that you narrow the search. Be clear exactly what type of company you want to work for, and keep in mind that some organisations will offer both independent financial advice and restricted advice to consumers. Understand exactly which services are provided by the company you wish to work for.

Process matters more than names

In the grand scheme of things, what someone calls themselves isn’t particularly important as long as they explain clearly to the client which services they are and are not able to provide, and what their level of access to different types of investments and products is.

Independent Financial Advisors can typically advise on all investments and products, while restricted advisors, as the name suggests, are only able to advise clients on a restricted range of investments or products. Although this may not seem much of a change in the rules, there is one tweak which could affect some Financial Advisors.

Advisors who have decided to specialise in one area of financial advice, such as pensions or investment, are also described as restricted advisors, even though they may have unfettered access to all pension products or all investments.

The key is this: before deciding what fancy name you are going to give yourself, or before you are enticed by a company offering an impressive title, work out what type of advisor you want to be and what types of service you would be happy and confident with delivering.

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