Tone at the top

Leadership took centre stage in this year's election race. The fact that three leaders fell dramatically on their swords following defeat at the ballot box - albeit Mr Farage promptly changed his mind - was not only unprecedented in modern politics, but inextricably links leadership with the ability to succeed.

It offers some important parallels. Not least that tone and trust are qualities that can help shape the future of any business - particularly when it comes to navigating the evolution of the financial advice sector.

Tone at the top is therefore more important than ever and the ability to lead from the front is key. It certainly helps if you have the expertise and knowledge to do what you are asking your advisers to do. Of course, if you head up a broad church financial planning proposition it's not always possible to have expertise in every disciple, so having the confidence to delegate to good quality people is essential.

Post RDR, it's inevitable that the next five years will see further consolidation in the IFA sector as advisers leave the sector due to retirement, insolvency or a career change. While younger, better educated people are likely to replace those exiting the sector, we need to ensure that regeneration doesn't result in a short to medium term lack of experienced advisers able to give trusted advice to a growing pool of consumers who need it, particularly in light of pension freedoms.

It's also important to factor in the inevitable creep of banks and product providers with dedicated sales forces returning to the sector. If we are to keep the evolution of the financial advice sector on an even keel and continue to regain the trust lost in financial services following the economic crisis and various mis-selling disasters, then leaders of IFA firms will need to keep on their toes and up their game in terms of their service proposition.

Professionalism and leadership will play a crucial role in our chances of success. Good leaders will be needed to step up to the plate to ensure that financial planning remains a healthy and vibrant sector that offers both sound and trustworthy solutions.

Basically, there's never been a more important time to have a strong leadership role in financial planning.

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