The state of corporate advice at #casummit

corporate adviser


The corporate adviser summit has been held every October in a swanky hotel somewhere in the home counties. This year we are in a frightful faux castle near Horsham complete with fake arrow slits and other accoutrements of the English Baronial Hall. As usual I was defeated by all aspects of the room’s technology and failed even to open the individual shampoo  bottle in my room.

I mention this as the state of this hotel really apes the state of the corporate adviser community. For years it has been supported by munificent insurers but the FCA’s rules on inducements, the Bribery Act and scrutiny on costs and charges make absurd junkets like this almost a thing of the past.

I feel as I write that I am presiding over the last rites of the life insurance industry and its distribution network (as we have known it since 1987).

The cataclysm that has hit it since the introduction of RDR in 2012 is clear to see.

consultancy charging -gone

corporate hospitality -gone

commission -going and almost gone

annuities – dead

Relationship management is now confined to wealth management and the inner sanctum of blessed consultants and investment managers who service the dying embers of the defined benefit industry.

We now know our customers through social media which provides us with the big data to segment the workforces we service. Straight through processing means that clients will move seamlessly from accumulation to decumulation with the click of  a mouse. Seal clubbing is now conducted using an API.

This move to adopting technology has been prompted by a recognition that corporate clients (or more properly their workforces are no longer the juicy lemons they were. There may be 1.3m new employers to talk to , but all the conversations will be digital, the customer is now a corporate commodity.

We are now to resume the wake. Time to sign off, excuse the brevity but the bar stayed open late.





About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to The state of corporate advice at #casummit

  1. Duncan Singer says:

    Sounds more like an epitaph Henry! The clever little book “who moved my cheese” springs to mind. The cheese has moved and is no longer to be found in posh Horsham hotels. Benefits strategy, Governance frameworks and Health Management don’t command huge consulting fees. The tech tail will start to wag the consulting dog as we progress, but we won’t like it because it’s spoiled our fun! The sooner we can accept the shift and focus on what our clients really need the better. Guided outcomes and tech driven self serve financial planning via the workplace is the way forward for the mass market – how very unpalatable!

    • Stephen Gay says:

      Agree with Duncan. There will be those who will want to fight on with the old model – and many who will argue that somehow it could have been different ‘if only’. (My Dad still argues in his 80s that the UK could have resisted globalisation and retained our position as the world’s greatest manufacturer.) The march of history can rarely be resisted – and then not for very long. The digital age empowers people to redress the information asymetry and drives them to seek value – less fear and less ignorance. A new paradigm will emerge – by increments and as ever it will be those who correctly judge the social/political/technological trends that will be best positioned to succeed.

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