9 October 2012

The Middle Man Won't Go Away

There was an article in the Financial Times recently about "the middle man who won't go away". That lead me to thinking about middle men (since I am one of them in some respects).

Actually there are various middle men who won't go away. Having recently dealt with estate agents they come to mind first. When the Internet came along there was much talk about changing business models; "dis-intermediation" was the buzz word among business consultants (which was me at the time). That meant getting rid of the middle man, and estate agents seemed to be doomed. After all, why would you use one when you can do a simple search online to find all suitable properties? But estate agents are still with us. Could that possibly mean that we have discovered that they have a useful role to play after all, and that we don't actually want to live without them?

The same applies to recruitment consultants, travel agents, and financial advisers. In our role as intermediaries we provide access to financial products - as well as giving advice.

So in spite of easy access to tons of financial planning, insurance and investment information from helpful websites, I predict that there will still be plenty of people who are unwilling or unable to digest all of that, and who appreciate having someone to guide them through what they need, helping them understand as much as they want to in the process.

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