What triggered this line of thought on the matter of naming things, or labeling, was an interesting little article about some research done by a firm called Cerulli in the States. The key finding of this piece of research was:
In essence, the research asked advisers to classify themselves and their practices on their own perception of the services they offer the market. The researchers then reviewed those answers against what the adviser practices actually were, and the work that had actually been done with their clients.
Also, it is strongly implied that many advisers aspire to provide in-depth or comprehensive planning services, but the majority of their retail clients are not necessarily in need of such services.
Thirdly, it highlights the ongoing confusion amongst clients AND advisers over the industry terminology and titles.
I do wonder though whether an adviser is giving them-self the best chance of capitalizing on their core value proposition in the consumer minds? That is, in their branding are advisers linking their expertise and value to what the consumer thinks they want or need?
In other words, it works as a form of communication.
So professional advisers might need to re-consider how they label - or brand - themselves.
Despite the many years of work that may have gone into earning the right to be called a Financial Planner (or any one of a number of other suitable professional qualifications), and how much distinction there might be within the industry in using such titles or qualifications, it may actually be largely meaningless to the target market.
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