We are all looking for ways to impress our clients. This desire in the very best firms extends beyond our technical abilities to deliver advice and investment and planning solutions.

In these days of fee compression and rising costs, we must all work hard to ensure our clients understand our value and make the conscious decision to continue working with us for the longer term.

It is a well-documented issue that it is hard to attract and retain quality advisers.  Despite huge efforts and some decent inroads made by the professional bodies to encourage young people into the profession, we are still a long way from having as many new advisers as we would like.

The search for the perfect suitability report seems to be one of those never ending, iterative quests. We decided to redesign ours after we all agreed it had become an overly long, clunky and not particularly user friendly document.

We already undertake regular document reviews to reflect changing regulatory advice and our own standards, as well as feedback from clients, advisers, and our professional indemnity insurer. This exercise seemed overdue.

Given that suitability reports always seem to be high up the regulatory agenda, this was a priority to do and to do well.

For those of us who interact constantly with colleagues within a team environment, particularly in any form of leadership role, it is crucial that we not only build respect, but that we inspire others, particularly those younger than us, as they seek to be better. While we will all have our own ways of working with colleagues there are some key actions we can take that, if demonstrated consistently, really can help inspire those around us.

I am well known, in my own firm at least, for my active dislike of terms such as ‘professional adviser’ or ‘helpful banking’ and other such meaningless guff.

There is a lot of discussion amongst all of the key groups in retail financial advice currently around fee compression and how new entrants and automated investment models will continue to negatively impact on what we do as advisers. We may all see things slightly differently on just how much impact this will all have on our bottom lines but none of us will be totally immune to these pressures. It is likely that as long as a low inflation, low return environment continues these pressures will be constant and possibly increasing.