Complaining and double-crossing: utterly unfavourable characteristics that are, unfortunately, all too often associated with all parts of the financial industry.

Even more unfortunate is the undisputable fact that these associations often stem from some within the sector itself – and not, as it’s typically assumed, from the mainstream media, which does take great delight in knocking the finance industry on occasion.

In recent times, it is becoming ever more apparent that some within the sector are openly and not-so-openly talking down other firms’ products, services, and perhaps most alarmingly, even individuals, with the intention of gaining the ‘upper hand’.

Believing as I do that competition drives personal, company and industry standards – and therefore success – skywards, this ‘strategy’ is one I wholly rebuff and would never use.

Maybe this trend is a reflection of the times as some feel unable to manage the effects of a tougher economic environment, the escalating number of international IFAs, and/ or the far-reaching regulatory developments.

Whatever the reason, not only is it disingenuous, it is detrimental and should stop as it damages confidence and trust in the industry as a whole – an industry that we as advisers have committed ourselves to and have a stake in.

Learn lessons from the banking industry

Indeed, we should be learning lessons from the errors made within the banking world, which was until fairly recently, when its reputation was blackened by some within it, perceived as a noble industry.

We must not allow our sector to follow the same fate, because confidence and trust are crucial elements for the advisory industry.  Without them, there’s a risk that people will not employ our services, which would mean they would miss out on the bona fide, life-enhancing benefits that financial planning offers.

The effort used to ‘take a pop’ at any competition should rather be channelled to make the market more robust, increasing advisers’ professional development, and developing training techniques, new technologies and financial products, forging strategic alliances, and launching in new markets.

This more favourable path will help to plug a gap left by the public’s lack of confidence in the banking sector and it will bring benefits to clients who, due to the challenging economic times are in greater need than ever of quality, independent financial advice.  And, of course, in turn this will benefit advisers too.