Highly Commended in the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ category at the first ever Professional Adviser New Talent Awards, Liam Fowler joined Heron House Financial Management in June 2015 after he graduated with a first-class BA (Hons) in Business Management with Finance.
After three years he became a qualified financial adviser and is currently working towards obtaining a Chartered Financial Planner (CFP) qualification.
Adviser Points of View managed to catch up with Fowler, who is also part of the investment committee team analysing investments at Heron House Financial Management.
How did you feel about being nominated?
It was hugely rewarding to have just been nominated in the first instance and recognised by our peers for the work that we do beyond our everyday responsibilities. To then be shortlisted and win several awards, showed us that the awards panel also felt we were doing exceptional work for our clients and the financial services industry, which is a great achievement. Winning the awards has helped boost staff morale and motivation, as everyone could see that our service was being noticed by a broader audience.
What do you think of the financial advice industry as a whole, does it need reform?
There are areas of the financial advice industry which need greater clarity and framework, such as the issues surrounding Defined Benefit (DB) transfers and contingent charging. We do, however, have to consider the regulatory costs of such reform and the impact on the smaller advice firms in the industry, that face the risk of being priced out of the market as a result of rising professional indemnity costs.
It’s important that reforms take place to improve the level of advice given to clients, but increased regulatory costs could further impact the advice gap as firms look to channel their business models towards higher net worth clients, and we risk leaving certain consumers behind. There are, in our opinion, too many complexities and barriers for people taking out what should be simple financial products, like investment ISAs, hence too many medium-to–longer term investors end up in unsuitable cash-based products.
How is the industry changing?
In our opinion the industry is changing and for the better. We are seeing a number of changes, such as; regulatory changes improving transparency, and a shift in the next generation of recruiters into financial advice with a drive for more graduates and females in an once male dominated environment, which is a great transition for the industry.
The MiFID II requirements and regulations have been seen by many as a burden and a complex initiative to comply with, but the transparency of charges for investors is a must. More clarity on underlying fund charges has improved fund research comparisons and highlighted those fund groups who weren’t completely open about their costs.
Do you think the industry needs more advisers?
There is a lot of talk within the industry about the number of advisers anticipated to leave the industry over the next five years, with the main consensus being one in five. It is evident that there are not enough new advisers joining the industry to fill this void, and this is an area of focus for us as we continue to support graduates and talk about the exciting opportunities in financial advice at university careers fairs.