SB: ‘Crystal. So the report is not just about giving best advice now, but protecting me against what might be considered bad advice in the future?’
Consultant: ‘Precisely. And for that reason, it needs to be as obscure and long-winded as possible.’
SB: ‘What? Why? Won’t the client inquire what I have written if it’s too confusing?’
Consultant: ‘We have thought of that: make sure the front of the report is full of stuff they already know. By the time they get to the confusingly written part, they will have drifted off.’
SB: ‘What would we tell them that they already know?’
Consultant: ‘Simple stuff: tell them whether they are married, whether they have children or a mortgage, how much they earn, how they pay tax and what they want to do in life. They will have told you all of that during the fact-find and now you just describe it back to them.
The regulator loves this sort of thing. It’s a bit like showing your wife or husband that you have been listening by repeating stuff back to them. The client is quietly lulled into a relaxed state, gradually losing interest.
However, before the really confusing stuff, it’s wise to use the secret weapon: the results from the risk assessment questionnaire. They always stop reading at that point.’