A financial services professional walks into a bar...

I’ve spent hours and hours tirelessly researching the subject of my article this week; such is my dedication to Bridging and Commercial Distributor.  And at which particular coalface have I been toiling?  My local village pubs; the Ruffled Duck and the Silent Swan. 

Now bear with me on this; whilst enjoying a couple of tipples over the weekend, it occurred to me that the business model for my locals had some areas of comparison with consumer credit firms.  In the Duck, I walked in and nodded a greeting to the man behind the bar who met me with the age old innkeepers’ salutation “Beer?  Pint?”  Once I’d answered both in the affirmative he poured the drink, took my money and left me to it.  Very much in the old school consumer credit style he’d identified my need and sold me a product to meet that need.   The Duck sells one type of draught beer (also one type of white wine, one of red etc.) and its idea of customisation is to supply a lager top, when requested.  Very straightforward, done and dusted. 

The Swan, however, is a whole other experience.  As soon as I entered and as I approached the bar, I was appraised by the barman; was I falling over drunk? (of course not!), did I have my car keys clutched in my hand? (again, of course I did not).  He checked that I was a stable customer; I wasn’t in an impaired state, I wasn’t attempting to buy more beer to my own detriment, I posed no threat to myself or others.  In other words, he did a health-check and decided that I wasn’t vulnerable or dangerous or acting against my own best interest.  Before I placed my order we had a bit of back and forth about where I’d been that day, which other pubs in the area I’d previously visited, whether I thought I’d just be having a drink that evening or whether I might want some food later, maybe just some bar snacks.  In our world, the barman was doing something called ‘knowing your client’; gathering some background information so that he was able to fully understand my circumstances and needs before making any recommendation.  When he finally took my order, he was able to guide me through the many different drinks on offer; the pale ales, lagers, stouts and porter.  The breadth of the range was staggering and, just given the list in isolation, I would have struggled to make a decision about which one I would like the most.  Luckily, the barman’s thorough fact-finding into my previous choices, what I’d enjoyed in the past and even the fact that I might be hankering after an unforeseen change of circumstances in the form of a packet of pork crackling in the not-too-distant- future meant that he had the perfect pint ready to recommend.  Before pouring, he checked to ensure that I understood the cost of the drink and that I had enough cash on me to buy a couple if I stayed for a few hours. 

And there you have it – the Ruffled Duck is our restricted offering whilst the Silent Swan is the new, regulated, whole of market firm.  Some would say that the outcome is the same; I’d fulfilled my primary objective of being served a pint in both, but I know which one provided the more rounded and satisfying customer experience.  I left the Silent Swan assured that I’d been served by an expert in that field and I’ve no doubt I’ll be back to do some more ‘research’ this weekend!

Working with an organisation like the SimplyBiz Group can help you distinguish yourself as an expert in your field, and our specialist team keep up with all the changes in the industry so that you don’t have to do it all yourself.  The SimplyBiz Group has fourteen years of experience in this area, and that’s just one of the reasons why AOBP has chosen to partner with us.  If you want help with adapting to FCA regulation and keeping compliant on an ongoing basis, please get in touch with us urgently on 01484 443424.