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No More Fact Finds

20 May 2023

FINANCIAL PLANNERS, please stop doing fact finds.

Really. Just stop.

I know you’re going to tell me that you have to do them because your compliance officer and the FCA tell you that you must.

And I also know you’re going to say that it’s all about ‘Know Your Client’.

But is it?


If someone actually looked at your fact find, which is probably a form with lots of drop-down fields and text boxes, would they really ‘know your client’?


They would read a lot of facts and numbers and some staid text in boxes.

Because, have you noticed that when you write something, your language stiffens like you’re writing a police officers report?

‘Mr Smith attended our offices today to discuss some issues he has with his investment management’…..blah blah blah….boring.

That isn’t ‘Know Your Client’.

And yet the worst thing is, you do actually ‘Know Your Client’.

I’m sure you could sit down and tell me all about your client’s hopes, dreams, obstacles, anxieties, opportunities, history, and a whole lot more.

Because you’re a Financial Planner – and that’s what you do. It’s in your soul.

It’s just that all of that loveliness is forced into a generic square tin and robbed of its personality.

Back in the day, I worked for a home service insurance company where we each had our own ‘round’ and collected premiums from our customers each week.

My old sales manager would take me out with him; he could tell me everything and anything about every one of his clients.

You know, the important stuff, because he’d been part of their lives for years and had seen everything that went on in their house. He’d laughed with them, cried with them, and lived his life alongside them.

It was the very essence of ‘Know Your Customer’.

But the FCA (then FSA) came along and told us that he couldn’t demonstrate that he ‘knew his customer’ because it wasn’t written down (it wasn’t).

And so compliance consultants were brought in to build forms and computer systems, and ‘fact finds’ were born.

And a little bit of the soul of financial planning died.

But you can help to resurrect it.

The trick is to stop doing written fact-finding and start doing video notes.

That’s right, at the end of your client session, grab your phone and imagine you were telling your best mate all about it – and just film that.

You’ll notice how much more expressive you are when talking than you are when writing and well, altogether more…..human.

It sounds like a story (which it is), rather than a police officer’s statement to the court.

And the best bit is that if your compliance officer or the FCA wants to review one of your files, they can’t just scan a fact find look for a bit of data.

They have to watch the whole video.

And maybe a bit of your soul will rub off on them. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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