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2013 – A year of significant change


2013 was a year in which there were several very significant developments for our firm. The way in which we do business remains unchanged but the financial services environment in which we work has metamorphosed into something very different (and better):

  • The Financial Services Authority (FSA), has now been replaced by two regulators: the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The latter looks after banks, insurance companies and investment houses. Financial Advisers like us are regulated by the FCA;
  • Flowers McEwan has become a directly regulated firm. This means that we report directly to the FCA instead of through an intermediary (called a network). This is working very well and is robust, sustainable and appropriate for our scale, structure and culture;
  • We have appointed new compliance consultants Just CRS, the people behind Compliance News. Although we were well served by our previous advisers, CRS has brought a fresh and constructive perspective to our advice-giving;
  • At last, our long-standing fee basis has placed Flowers McEwan in the centre of the Financial Services profession (rather than running out ahead of the pack). This follows the adoption of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Whilst others have found RDR a traumatic change we have been able to embrace it wholeheartedly;
  • One of the idiosyncratic results of this change has been the way the discounts we obtain for our investment clients have been penalised. This has forced most Investment Houses to issue new classes of cheaper funds. We have an ongoing programme of switching our clients’ funds to these new cheaper ones which will deliver lower costs and improved returns;
  • Our focus on high technical competency and advanced qualifications has enabled us to welcome recent increased requirements in this area too;
  • We have been delighted to welcome Mark Wigginton to our team. We have known Mark for many years. His previous employment was as a compliance officer for the network we used. Mark’s considerable experience and expertise in financial services will be a huge benefit to the firm and our clients;
  • Murray has chaired the Yorkshire Branch of the Institute of Financial Planning. This reflects our position as one of the leading Financial Planners in the country. We are only a small firm but with a long track record of fee-based holistic financial planning work.
  • We have for a long time developed expertise in the area of ethical/socially-responsible investing, which we offer as an investment option for our clients.  As one of the leaders in this area we were invited to HM Treasury to take part in a consultation about the new Social Investment Tax Relief,  just announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his autumn statement. We are pleased to say that many of the changes we recommended look like they will be included, which is really good news for the development of social investing in the UK.



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