Press Release

PIMFA Annual Summit Addresses Key Areas for Evolution and Innovation in Financial Services

Thursday 17th October 2019

PIMFA – the trade association for personal investment managers and financial advisers – welcomed over 300 senior industry figures to their Annual Summit today.  The flagship event addressed key issues for the industry such as Brexit and the current UK political climate, the future of the UK economy, the future of wealth, embracing innovation within the sector, leadership and mental wellbeing – all key aspects of day’s theme of ‘what’s next?’ to build a successful sector for the future. 

The day kicked off with opening remarks by Summit Chair Daisy McAndrew, Former Economics & Chief Political Correspondent on ITV News, who welcomed delegates to the event, and opening keynote speaker David Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of Harlequins, who spoke about purpose-driven performance that can be utilised both on and off the field and with lessons for our industry.  He commented: “when you have purpose, everything else starts to layer on top; for the team, purpose impacts on practice and positivity and performance. Without purpose, you cannot have sustained performance.”

Other early sessions of the day focused on the uncertain political future. With so much uncertainty ahead and the final decision on Brexit potentially approaching, expert panellists Katy Balls, Political Correspondent at The Spectator, Stephen Bush, Political Editor at the New Statesman and Rt. Hon Jim Murphy, MD of Arden Strategies debated the current political landscape, the impact of broadcast and media and transparency, and what could be next for British politics. Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO of Coriolis Technologies and Dr. Gerard Lyons, Chief Economic Strategist at Netwealth discussed the shifting political, economic and technological landscape during a panel about the UK Economy.

Panellists The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts, President of Resolution Foundation Advisory Council and Intergenerational Centre, Matthew Cameron, Managing Director of LGBT Great,  Holly Mackay, Founder/CEO of Boring Money, and Maarten Heukshorst, Chief Commercial Officer at Pershing, discussed the importance of industry adaptation to successfully address the needs of clients and service the changing wealth landscape and client base – touching on diversity and inclusion, intergenerational wealth, retirement, and promoting savings and investment amongst young people.

“Wealth entirely belongs to baby boomers; they own houses, equity and pensions, the younger generations do not readily have access to these, how do we give younger people the opportunity to do the same, to own homes and have good pensions? One of the successes is auto-enrolment pension, which has created a higher number of people saving. This is a framework that works, and later governments will want to develop so they can to help future generations build their wealth”, said Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts.

“The industry is stuck and thinks about things a very certain way because they’ve come from very similar backgrounds, Boards and firms often look the same, and it can feel like ‘this is not a club I feel invited to join”.

When discussing reaching potential new clients, Holly said; “Regulation and the resulting communications have created barriers where the customer is too frightened to do anything”. She used the example of booking a holiday with potential warnings that highlight the immediate dangers associated with it such as potential crashes, terrorist attacks etc and said that “the risks and warnings highlighted to clients ahead of a decision are putting them off the vital activity of saving and investing.”

Matteo Montecchi, Teaching Fellow at King’s College London, during his session with Damien Fantato, Deputy Editor of FT Adviser, said, “what people value the most is efficiency and convenience. They want a seamless experience and they are willing to pay for it”. He also highlighted the generational differences by stating millennials are more inward-looking and status-conscious and that “they may not own a house, but they will fly business class”, whereas Gen Z have a different approach, they are considered to be more ‘conservative’ and have a keen interest in sustainability and authenticity.

Matteo further highlighted how Blockchain is now being used to disrupt and certify authenticity – using the example of identifying the geo-location of the grapes used to make the wine you purchase – and illustrated how this can be adapted across industries – while emphasising the importance of the financial services being engaging and time-efficient, despite being very heavily regulated. He went on to say, “Organisations such as Monzo are using social media efficiently by focusing on transparency and the key pieces of information the clients need to know – to a degree they have changed the tone of voice for financial services”.

This was followed by a panel speaking on employee wellbeing and mental health. Panellists, Michael Heyworth, Executive Director & Head of Client Delivery at Coutts, Paul Feeney, Chief Executive Officer of Quilter and Mark Twigg, Executive Director of Cicero, who had an open and honest discussion about the challenges of being a leader and its effect on mental wellbeing and how to embed employee wellbeing into corporate culture from the top down.

Mark Twigg said, “we need to break the stigma surrounding mental health. Authentic, open and honest discussions can be beneficial to an organisation as well as the individual, creating huge cultural transformation [within an organisation]”.

The morning ended with Debbie Gupta, Director of Life Insurance & Financial Advice at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) speaking on the FCA priorities for the industry, the challenges around a constantly changing landscape also stating that they want to develop more of an ‘adult to adult’ relationship with firms.

Debbie also highlighted the importance of change and innovation of the industry, focusing on doubling down efforts to protect people against fraudsters and ensuring that firms are able to have the confidence to do the right thing and meet consumer needs, with the implementation of conduct rules. She highlighted, “these are not issues we can solve by ourselves, we need to build, evolve, and tackle holistic changes together.  This sector is of vital importance to individuals and we have a good, if not always cosy, relationship with PIMFA to work on these issues”.

She said, “A focus on cultural shifts, through change and innovation, reflect characteristics of a vibrant market that is responding quickly to social and economic trends – it is our new normal. The constant change might feel exhausting but is a sign that the sector is in great health”.

PIMFA CEO, Liz Field, said: “Its key to understand that in life, in general, on top of this current climate and political uncertainty, people need financial advice and personal investment management. The sector currently looks after £1.3 trillion in private savings and investments and employs over 55,000 people; it is an industry that is thriving. Both clients and employees need our support and our firms are at the forefront of providing financial and mental wellbeing support to them.

Events such as these are important in our industry – a sanctuary for learning – as it allows firms from across the UK and our membership to discuss key issues, share and learn about things that impact the sector and take back practical takeaways to implement in their businesses”.

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Notes for Editors

About PIMFA – the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association

  • PIMFA is the leading trade association for firms that provide investment management and financial advice to everyone from individuals and families to charities, pension funds, trusts and companies.
  • PIMFA represents both full and associate member firms. Full members provide a range of financial solutions including financial advice, portfolio management, as well as investment and execution services. They assist everyone from individuals and families, to charities and pension funds, all the way to trusts and companies.  Associate members provide professional services to the PIMFA community.
  • PIMFAleads the debate on policy and regulatory recommendations to ensure that the UK remains a global centre of excellence in the wealth management, investment advice and financial planning arena.  Our mission is to create an optimal operating environment so that its member firms can focus on delivering the best service to clients, providing responsible stewardship for their long-term savings and investments. 
  • PIMFA was created in 2017 as the outcome of a merger between the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) and the Wealth Management Association (WMA) with a history as a trade association since 1991 – read more.
  • Further information can be found at pimfa.co.uk
  • To become a member of PIMFA for access to training, benefits and discounts, please visit https://www.pimfa.co.uk/become-a-member or contact us directly at [email protected]


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