There's not much more to say about this year that hasn't been said already. 

    In a year where 'out of the ordinary' is something of an understatement, advisers and planners have once again stepped up to the plate, supporting clients through strange and difficult circumstances, often while facing down their own professional and personal challenges.

    We have been lucky in advice and financial services that the world, while looking different, has kept turning. 

    Our most read articles this year demonstrate how financial planners have adapted during 2020, with reflections on opportunities from chaos, leading remotely and the future of the office. 

    But equally, there are common themes that persist: the myriad impacts of regulation for example, and the question of value. 

    And there is also the highly personal, such as Brian Hill's story of life in Italian lockdown, and what ultimately prompted him to sell his financial planning practice. 

    Here's our list of the Illuminate articles that resonated the most in what has clearly been a very strange and eventful year.

    10) Seven adviser opportunities amidst the chaos


    In early April as we entered lockdown for the first time, Lee Robertson captured the mood brilliantly with this piece on the opportunities that might be explored for ourselves, our businesses and our clients. 

    While he's clear on not wanting to diminish what people are going through, he highlights some of the important ways advisers can be there for clients and for their teams.

    It's a nice article to revisit for those looking to provide additional support as the various coronavirus restrictions on daily life continue. 

    9) Why I don't believe the end is nigh for the office


    In the wake of us all adapting to working from home en masse, there were many stories of advisers thinking about giving up their office space in favour of remote working. 

    Here, Nathan Fryer explains why he chose to buck the trend and instead decided to sign a new office lease. 

    A seasoned remote worker himself having run Plan Works from home for six years, Nathan describes the pitfalls of life working from home, and why for him getting an office was one of the best things he has done. 

    8) How to lead and work remotely

    remote working

    In this article, our chief people officer Kirsty Lynagh discusses the shift in mindset that's needed when it comes to leading teams and working remotely. 

    She looks at managing expectations around performance, understanding that different people need different support, setting boundaries and the importance of turning your camera on.

    For more on this, check out this article (again penned by Kirsty) on supporting your team through the new normal

    7) What next after the FCA's Dear CEO letter to advisers?


    Back in February, before our attention was well and truly diverted to coronavirus and lockdown, the FCA issued one of its Dear CEO letters for advisers.

    Graeme Stewart outlines the regulator's key areas of concern and the actions firms were expected to take - perhaps one to bookmark for later if and when the FCA decides to take its Assessing Suitability 2 review off the shelf. 

    6) FOS vs High Court: A tale of two complaints

    FOS High Court

    Here, Philippa Hann examines two very similar complaint cases with two very different outcomes, based on whether the case was heard at the High Court or via the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

    As well as explaining the nuance of the two cases, Philippa also touches on the thorny issue of Sipp provider responsibility. 

    5) Money for nothing, and the bps for free


    For this entry we go all the way back to January, to an article from our chief exec David Ferguson. 

    David throws a bit of Einstein into the mix on the value for money debate, and sets out his thoughts around the cost of asset management, adviser consolidation and the implications for clients. 

    He also delves into the archives for this article on being haunted by your own potential, which still seems to resonate nearly five years on. 

    4) Can you prove the value of your advice?

    value for money

    Sticking with the theme of value, Mike Barrett examines value for money from the advice perspective, including how to measure it, getting opinions from clients (the ultimate deciders of value) and the question of evidencing all the value you provide. 

    (He also gives a little bit of insight into the evolving nature of illuminate articles when, as was the case in March/April, the news agenda dramatically changes!)

    3) How DFM terms are hitting PI renewals

    DFM contracts

    The issue of what agreements advisers have in place with their discretionary fund managers has been bubbling away for a while. 

    In this article Dave Chessell looks at how this topic has come to the fore with professional indemnity insurers, with agent as client arrangements coming in for particular scrutiny. 

    2) Beyond the ban: The new FCA rules on DB transfer advice

    FCA 2

    Another ongoing challenge has been that of defined benefit pension transfer advice, and the FCA's response in the wake of what happened with British Steel. 

    The latest rules governing this part of the market came in in October. Peter Rhoden walks through what advisers need to know about the changes, from triage and abridged advice to carve outs and workplace pensions. 

    1) Why I sold my financial planning practice

    Brian Hill 2

    Our most read article of 2020 goes to Brian Hill, who this year hung up his financial planning hat after nearly 15 years of giving advice. 

    He explains why he decided to sell up, what the future might hold for him and his reflections on regulation and the advice profession. 

    You can also catch up on our full interview with Brian on lockdown and living in Italy here

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