2015, Looking Forwards
It does feel as if we are continually saturated with bad news.
2014 closed with the news of the Indonesia Asia A320 air crash over the Java Sea, and since then we have been treated to a series of news reports, largely about the recovery of bodies. There is a kind of relentless churning out of dreadful revelations concerning ISIS, most of which reveal a kind of barbarity which most of us had forgotten existed. There is an upsurge of jihadist attacks upon various centres of Western civilisation, and of course now we have this latest appalling event which killed so many at Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris, followed by probably the biggest manhunt in recent European history.
These days, the act of using the TV remote to switch onto the BBC News does require something of an act of will.
Of course, it isn't just the 'out there' that bombards us with the kinds of news which engender a somewhat pessimistic outlook. My wife and I spent the second day of the New Year attending the funeral of a close friend and, with the best will in the world, these things can (if we let them) 'set the scene' for the way in which we look forwards, and attempt to plan ahead.
Within our own professional context the backdrop frequently contains much that hinders a fully-fledged optimism for business prospects - but the reality is that this has always been the case. In many respects, 2014 felt like a 'harder' year than any that had gone before - in terms of regulatory change, the realisation that the FCA is creating a marketplace which is essentially unsustainable, of the need for adaptation, or work on better systems - and yet, it was our most successful one yet. We held a number of CPD Events which were simply excellent. We have seen quite a few Member Firms develop advisory propositions which are, by any standards, remarkable. We continue to exercise great care, and profitability is up.
My conclusion is that, whilst bad news may abound, and whilst there is much that we cannot control, there are still substantive grounds for an optimistic view of the year ahead, based upon those things that we can control, and on our ability to plan and act as free agents. And, as we review the business models of our Members, we see things that are thoughtfully-crafted, responsible and genuinely transformative in terms of impact upon clients' financial capability.
Related resource for ValidPathers
There's a new page which gathers together ideas and resources to help you build a profitable and successful 2015.