Archive for October 2017

The role of IFAs is changing

Whether you need a mortgage, want to ensure you’ll have enough money for retirement or are in the process of finding cash for a new business venture, you need to source the best financial advice available.

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Many people turn to Independent Financial Advisers, or IFAs, when they want information and guidance on finances – and for good reason. IFAs are independent, as their name suggests, which means they will always offer impartial advice rather than that tied to one particular producer or product.

Changes

But the role of IFAs is changing, due to new rules and regulations, mainly introduced since the various financial scandals and mis-sellings of the recent past. Many of these changes have been taking place as a result of the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which started to come into force at the close of 2012 and has been taking effect ever since.

The RDR was launched by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) with the aim of making the retail investment market fairer and more transparent for consumers. Essentially, the review increased the minimum level of qualifications required by an IFA, as well as making charges more transparent and, crucially, putting an end to commission-based sales.

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According to the FSA’s successor, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), there are more changes to follow.

Impact

The reforms introduced so far have had a huge impact on IFAs. According to the Cass Business School, based at the City University London, the number of Independent Financial Advisers fell from 40,000 in 2011 to 31,000 in 2013. This, they suggest, was due to many IFAs no longer being able to meet the required qualifications.

Other impacts have been the fact clients now have to pay upfront for advice, rather than paying with commission, which has led to some customers thinking they are getting worse value for money.

Future reforms are yet to be announced, but one change coming into effect soon is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new piece of legislation coming into force in May 2018 which will alter how IFAs store, secure and use clients’ data. This will require advisers to install new IFA software, such as that available at https://www.intelliflo.com.

Using an IFA is always a good idea. Just be sure they’re complying with the new regulations before handing over your hard-earned cash.

10 design elements to improve your website

There’s much more to a website than words and pictures, although these tend to be the aspects that most business owners focus on. Read on to discover 10 design elements that could lift your website above the ordinary.

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1 Colour

According to an article in Entrepreneur, the colours you choose for your branding can directly influence how consumers engage with your brand, so choose your colour palette with great care.

2 Space

It’s tempting to cram each web page with content and images, but try paying attention to the areas of white space, or blank space, within your site. This lets the content and images sing out far better than a cluttered design.

3 Shapes

The shapes you use can draw the visitor’s eye to the part of your web page that you want them to see. This is best left to expert designers, but you can easily source a professional London web design company with a highly skilled design team such as web development services by Redsnapper, for example.

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4 Lines

Lines on a web page can trick the eye into following them to a call-to-action, or special offer on your site.

5 Fonts

The fonts you use can add emphasis, gravitas, or even a light-hearted touch – but choose wisely and avoid Comic Sans, for example.

6 Scale

Clever use of scale can make parts of your web page stand out, catching the visitor’s attention without being too obvious about it.

7 Emphasis

Emphasis and contrast help to make aspects of your web page more prominent, adding interest to your core message and drawing the reader’s eye to where you want it to go.

8 Balance

There has been a trend for some time for symmetry in web design, but increasing numbers of web designers are now extolling the virtues of asymmetry, as it stands out from the crowd and, done correctly, is pleasing to the eye.

9 Texture

Your web pages may be two-dimensional, but adding texture gives a more immersive, three-dimensional effect

10 Harmony

Picking random design elements and hoping for the best will never make a web page good to look at. Spend time ensuring that all the design elements on your site work well together, creating a coherent message that visitors will recognise, and hopefully warm to, for the best results.