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David Shelton: Are there mass market opportunities for advisers?


Fay Goddard, in her last Money Marketing column as chief execuctive of the Personal Finance Society, demonstrated her usual clarity by dividing the future advice market into three parts.

These were highly professional financial planning services, transactional based services and non-advised product sales.

It is hard to argue with this analysis. There is plenty of demand for planning and transactional services and there are plenty of moves towards non-advised self-services.

But note that there is an intended question raised in the previous sentence which implies demand for the first two, but possibly not the third.

Indeed, it is non-advised self-services that create concern. Not because such services are inferior or do not have a place in the market, as the success of Hargeaves Lansdown demonstrates.

But because such services will be all that is available to many people who should not take their own advice but have nowhere else to turn.

This is not to patronise but to recognise that, for many, financial planning and products is complex and easy to get wrong.

With the banks pulling out of face to face advice and IFAs having to set fees that only the better off can afford, there are many who will be forced to take their own advice which could be like the playing the lottery.

What can we do about this? Is there an opportunity or obligation to respond?

There is no doubt that many of the millions in this part of the market will know that they need to talk to an expert but will not know who they are or where to find them.

Clearly there is a cost of delivery issue because this is the low value/high volume part of the market.

However, firms that have slick processes and a transactional website have an opportunity to combine this with face to face guidance.

It will not work for all firms and low-cost access to market, via corporate clients or a high street location, is essential. 

Given the degree of change in the market this is another opportunity that in the past would have been discounted.

But now is the time to take a broad perspective and look at previous non-starters again. This won’t work for all advice firms but if you are good at what you do and can deliver it efficiently this is an opportunity that you should look at.

David Shelton is the author of “The Business of Advice” book and website 



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There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. There certainly is opportunity to deliver advice to lower wealth, mass market clients. However it is not an easy service to deliver. There needs to be a fine balance between technology, process, delivery logistics (e.g. over the phone) skills and having a proposition that delivers to the majority of the target audiences needs, but not to all. Does that mean holistic face to Face IFA?….probably not. However, it can still mean whole of market, good quality advice to resolve a specific need area.

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