Despite the hopes for more stability in 2021, this year has proven to be almost as turbulent as the last; the ongoing pandemic has not only led to uncertainty and unpredictability in the financial world, but also huge changes in terms of regulations and business conduct.
Tightening of Regulation
In the past few years, we have seen a dramatic tightening of regulations for IFAs, forcing businesses to recalibrate their ways of working and navigate a minefield of both compliance and regulatory conformation. This is a challenge that will not relent in 2022; in fact, the regulations are likely to become more restrictive. Although these regulations are ultimately there to protect both IFAs and clients, it can be incredibly difficult to keep up with the changes and can result in considerable disruption for the adviser, with 45 per cent of IFAs believing stricter compliance regulations are the biggest threat to their businesses.
More IFAs Joining Networks in 2022
As a result of the ever-increasing regulatory requirements mentioned above, we will see more IFAs joining networks in 2022 in order to ensure that they are meeting the relevant compliance and licensing requirements. Working within the larger body of a network shifts the pressure somewhat from advisers and can reduce their back-office costs, which are rising a consequence of changes in legislation. Not only can IFA networks help sustain advisers, keeping their businesses compliant with regulations, but they can also help grow and develop these businesses – another factor that I believe will motivate advisers to gravitate towards joining a network in the coming year.
Increase in invested profits from Cryptocurrency
As cryptocurrency trading becomes more established in the world of investing, it is also becoming easier to access – this is leading to a significant number of younger investors with less experience making substantial profits from investments in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The more financially savvy amongst these traders will look to reinvest these profits in more stable markets, often approaching advisers to help them make the most out of large lump sums and secure a sustainable financial future. As anecdotal and online stories of crypto-trading success circulate, more investors will be looking to re-invest any profits generated from these means into less volatile markets.
Increased Awareness surrounding ESG investments
I believe that as clients become more environmentally conscious there will be an uptake in awareness surrounding ESG stocks. As a form of socially responsible investing, ESG assesses a company based on environmental, social and governance factors, acting almost as an ethical evaluation of a company’s stocks. Not only can clients invest in these stocks with confidence in the company’s values, but research also suggests they offer corresponding or higher returns than non-ESG investments. As social and environmental pressures on investors and companies increase, I think that 2022 will see a considerable increase in awareness surrounding these ethical investments.
In light of both these forecasts and the repercussions of the last year, it is imperative that brokerages adapt and innovate to stay on top of these changes. If brokerages wish to keep in step with the demands of the modern client in 2022, they must rise to these challenges and be prepared for the inevitable evolution in the financial services landscape.
This communication is based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.