It's almost Christmas
Even at my venerable age, I still love everything about Christmas. OK, perhaps I don't altogether 'love' the shopping. Or the dining room looking as if a decoration and wrapping factory has exploded. Or the commercialisation of what was, essentially, a family event with religious significance. Or the frantic last minute rush when it is discovered that the brussel sprout count is short by three. But other than those little asides, I love everything about Christmas...
One of the things I always enjoy about it, one which signifies that we're close to shutting down the office and turning our backs for a while on the pace of running a financial services network, is the Staff Christmas Party. Getting the team together around the table, and away from the office, is always a brilliant experience, and I am so grateful for the 'ValidPath Family', the folks who work so hard, and who have bought into what we're seeking to do for our IFA Members.
And if I don't take our staff for granted, the same is certainly true for our Members, those who engage closely with what we are trying to achieve in terms of standards and professionalism, indeed those who continually keep us on our toes. For an increasing proportion of the Membership, there's scarcely a week that goes by without some sort of interaction regarding cases that they're working on, or new documentation, or support with marketing, or those "what would you do?" moments, or queries about the more effective use of our shared practice-management systems. This is hugely encouraging. It helps us to understand our Members' businesses better, be able to deliver targeted support, and learn where we may need to change gear in a particular area. I even appreciate the queries (and complaints!) that we might receive in respect of our regular compliance and practice updates - because that indicates that people are serious about engaging with the process of regulatory change.
Non-engagement, by contrast, is a curse. When it happens, it tends to undermine everything good that is being achieved elsewhere. Thankfully, over time, ValidPath has built up a membership of those who are, by and large, professionally and ideologically in the same space. This is as true in 2013, which has been a year of substantial growth, as well as also in previous years.
Operating a financial services network can be one of the more stressful occupational choices, but as we head for the end of 2013, I'd like to thank everyone who make it such a pleasure - our brilliant team at ValidPath and also our very excellent Membership.