Jet Setting Directors

The introduction of Dutch-style collective pension schemes last week shows that Britain is no island when it comes to financial services. In fact, many of the features of our regulatory regime began life overseas, such as auto-enrolment, which has its roots in Australia’s 20-year-old superannuation system.

From a business perspective, our antipodean cousins were busy using platforms back when we still knew them only as something worn by the Spice Girls. The US and Canada have also played their part, overseeing the advent of passive investing, the launch of exchange-traded funds and the birth of financial planning.

A global model

With this in mind I’m off to what must be the biggest global meeting of financial advisers, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) conference in Toronto, to see if there is any more wisdom out there worth stealing.

I’ll be joined by a number of familiar faces from the new model community keen to brush up on their presenting skills and share best practice with their peers from across the globe.

Craig McClurg and Simon Lister, directors of Norfolk-based ML Financial Associates, are swapping the Norfolk Broads for the Great Lakes.

Lister said: ‘The global nature of the event is one the things that I love. It’s taken my business from strength to strength. Take the Australians: they have had wraps and platforms far longer than us, and speaking to them can provide real insight.’

McClurg recalled the first time he attended. ‘The whole place rocked and when we entered as new members, everyone applauded. You can either be British about it or you can embrace it.’

Presidential progress

Also joining me in Toronto are Kevin Smith, director of Birmingham-based Margetts Wealth Management, and Caroline Banks, director of London-based Caroline Banks & Associates.

Smith said he hoped to improve his cerebral skills. ‘There is a big stress in the UK on technical knowledge but that is something you develop anyway. The MDRT gives you the chance to develop other skills such as mind-set and mental strength.’

Banks is currently first vice-president of the MDRT and will become president on 1 September. She will be giving her incoming presidential address to the 8,600 delegates in Toronto.

‘I’m excited,’ she said. ‘I don’t know how a girl from the sticks got to be talking at the MDRT. you can do anything and come from anywhere.’

By the time you read this I’ll have landed in Toronto and will be fighting though a scrum of advisers to hear Banks speak. Stay tuned to the New Model Adviser® website for all the latest news from MDRT 2014.



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