A visit to the dentists
My dentist is, in my opinion, a world-class purveyor of bad jokes. He's also a bit of a whizz when it comes to the dentition, but I visit him mostly for the jokes.
Challengingly, the telling of the jokes is something of a one-sided conversation, as he is usually rooting around in my mouth with various pointy metal implements - so in the following example, you'll need to interpret my strangled, inarticulate responses as genuine contributions to the conversation.
Steve: "Our next-door neighbours kept us awake for eight hours last night, vacuuming their house."
Me: "Aaaargghlllbbblll?" (Translation: "why on earth did they take so long?")
Steve: (after the briefest of pauses) - "They're Slovaks".
Me: "Aaaargh" (Translation: "Aaaargh")
Yes, the bad jokes have, over the years, become the drill at my dentist's...
Following our session of sit-down comedy (which, presumably, is less demanding than stand-up comedy), Steve sends me, by email, a Treatment Plan. This spells out exactly what he needs to do, approximately how long each phase of the ordeal is going to last, and to this he attaches his price tag. Nothing, whatsoever, happens until I sign and return the Treatment Plan, whereupon I am swiftly booked in for another exquisite fusion of laughter and pain.
Which neatly segues us to our revised page of guidance on Initial Disclosure Documentation. Recently, I became aware that, in a few isolated instances, it seemed that an adviser was uncertain about whether or not to issue a new Retail Client Agreement (RCA) to his or her client. I took a look at our historic guidance to see if it was ambiguous about the matter - and whilst it was not, I rewrote the entire section anyway. In practice, having a clearly-defined process for handling these essential initial phases in your compliance doesn't merely justify a self-congratulatory pat on the back, it can make the difference between getting paid and not getting paid. A signed, client-specific RCA on file, prior to commencing work is a real source of comfort - so don't skip it, or defer it, or forget about it.
Whether our clients should be laughing as hard during their encounters with us, is debatable. But the delivery of our world-class financial-planning services should involve infinitely less pain.