Preach institutional agnosticism

The institutions are your servant, not your master.

The institutions’ role is to provide your clients with services that you cannot provide. The best example is insurance. You need a service provider here. Survey their offerings and select the service that best suits your client, without fear or favour.

A tip. Service-wise they are more fungible than you think. There is not much in it. They are all OK. Therefore price should almost always dominate your decision: which service has the best after tax cost to benefit ratio. This goes for risk insurances as well as investment services.

Do not be beholden to any one institution. Play the field. Whatever is best for your client. You owe your client a duty of care. You do not owe any institution a duty of care. Think about index funds. Think about industry funds. Think about the smaller less known funds. Think about doing things differently.

One brand cannot always be the best. Or always be best for your client.

Think about ways of integrating yourself into the service equation and don’t slavishly refer your client to an institution. If you can do the work you should.

Direct investment strategies are great for advisers, and for clients.

The price paid to the institution reduces the price your client can pay you. The institution is competing with you for your client’s attention.

It’s your client, not their client. You have a best interests duty. They do not. Don’t abandon your client to an institution. Stay vigilant and watchful, and switch if it’s in your client’s best interests.

The Dover Group