“The best defence is a good offence.” 

I’ve been watching a few sports films and documentaries lately, and it’s one phrase that does crop up, and for quite a few scenarios it can be correct, but the crucially not often quoted element is timing.  Timing an offence poorly can leave you with a great strategy that does not fulfil potential.  Chess is a great example.  Taking individual pieces can look effective, but you run the risk of a firm counter or falling into a trap.  Arrange your pieces for the offence and then strike quickly with surety is what the grandmasters say.

It is also true in the financial planning and investment management world.  While there are times to be passive and moments where you should let the information sink in, there is inevitably the time for action sooner or later.  Judging when to exit an investment during a great run can be just as hard as exiting one that did not perform as taking profits is just as crucial as being cautious and waiting for volatility to come.  Then when it is time to act, do so.

Compliance with regulations is one most often cited bugbears of any company and one I would have echoed before starting Wattam Kirby Mee.  Initially, you are left reeling with the regulator’s comment “It is up to you to interpret our regulations, not us to tell you what to do” which is one we hear a lot.  In planning, you should be aware of the regulator interpretation of legislation, but ultimately you create your view.

But when you take on board that sometimes “the best defence is a good offence”, regulations melt away.  I have always wanted to embed myself in my client’s lives.  If I look back at my most consistent outcomes for clients, it will be for those where I became very close to them and their families.  My only area to develop was putting it all in the file, which was why compliance became tricky.

Building systems from scratch does help in this process, as does having four directors with differing backgrounds in financial services.  Having the discipline to keep your files brimming with client data is the way to being compliant.  We all enjoy the conversations of how our client’s grandchildren are keeping, and laugh at who lost their car at the airport.  OK, not everything goes in the file. Still, if you adopt the strategy of having a central place that documents the individuality of each client, providing ad hoc regulator reports is simple.

My advice, treat compliance as something to help you become a better adviser (you can’t keep it all in your head) rather than something you have to do.  You’ll never worry about a new regulation again.

Happy advising sports fans!

Thanks for reading and