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Editor’s note: The advice market is no place for whingeing

As journalists, we are often criticised for writing too many negative stories, for “doing down the profession”. The usual rebuttal to that accusation is that we have to cover the bad eggs as well as the good, but I prefer to take a different tack on most occasions, fighting any perception of how tough advisers have it or the real extent of firms’ struggles with some simple facts.

That arsenal of evidence receives a significant boost this week as we release the results of our flagship adviser remuneration report with recruitment consultancy firm BWD. There’s no other way of saying it: 2018 is an amazing time to be an adviser.

I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of Money Marketing readers have never had it better.

Boom time: Why adviser pay packets are soaring

The headline stats show average pay is up across the board, more advisers are reaching chartered status than ever and, as a rule, the advice community is not gettingany older.

Frankly, I can think of no better way to counter the far more pessimistic tone frequently encountered in the comments section of the trade press. If we write too many critical stories, then it is surely equally the case that many in the market have overplayed fears that the RDR would crush the profession when adviser numbers haven’t fallen, that the compliance burden will put us all in the red when profits are stable and wages are up, or that the public would abandon advisers due to lack of trust when there is more demand than ever.

Those of you who know me outside of these pages will know that I am constantly banging the drum for financial advice as a career, and am frankly staggered by how few people consider it as a viable option – something I can only put down to ignorance of facts like the ones we present this week.

The opportunities out there for well-run advice firms mean that, when we repeat this research next year, I fully expect the just reward for delivering great value to have increased again. Public awareness is improving and the full extent of pension freedoms cash has yet to filter through to the financial planning community. That’s not to mention the myriad revenue streams out there for businesses that embrace automation or new service lines such as life planning and coaching.

By the way, this was also the week that the FCA agreed that product providers should contribute 25 per cent towards financial advisers’ Financial Services Compensation Scheme bills.

The picture is rosy for advice; don’t let journalists or anyone else tell you different.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The advice community is not getting any older……thank goodness for that! If it were it would be on the verge of extinction! The oft quoted average age is still 58 , that is hardly healthy for long term sustainability. So while I don’t disagree 2018 COULD be a good year but as we are only just a third of the way through lets not count chickens just yet. There are major issues ahead that advisers need to be prepared for capable of reversing any feel good factor. So rather than lecture the sector on how it should feel and react show some respect for the extreme resilience of the adviser community. After all they are the ones living and breathing it daily!If you are sincere in what you say why don’t you consider training to be an adviser? Then you will be FULLY qualified to comment.

  2. Mr Boleyn PFS 3rd May 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Always good to be positive. And I guess if you judge things by money and profit alone(which to be fair, most people do) then there has rarely been a better time to be an adviser. However, if you seriously think that it is a better time than ever to be an adviser from any other perspective than being paid more because we are a scarcer commodity, then I disagree. There has rarely been a worse time to be a client either. Regulators seem to think that the best way for advice quality to be higher than ever before is to deliver more and more information about costs and potential growth to clients. To give them reams of paper with myriad figures explaining the potential growth on their products/investments. Clients pay more and more £s per year for advice to be delivered to them, and the cost of reviews for clients gets ever higher as their investments grow in size due to the preponderance of ad valorem fee models. The adviser profession is not one to aspire to. The overwhelming majority of people who remain as financial advisers are highly talented, hard working, well organised, effective communicators. But many of those I speak with, and we are talking about profitable highly paid advisers here (not resentful sour grapes types, would never recommend their friends or family to start a career as advisers. Regulation has created rules and procedures and a culture where advisers feel they need to back up and justify their advice with simply hundreds of pages of possible outcomes. Good advice is not made better by hundreds of pages of information, and bad advice can be covered up by issuing hundreds of pages of information. This is not a great time to start a career as an adviser, but because so many of those who remain as advisers have a long term revenue stream, and because barriers to entry are in place to new firms and advisers, then the scarcity that leads to means that earnings of those who remain will be higher and higher.

  3. Well done Justin for an informative and exciting conference, well put together. So many friends to catch up with, you are right, why wouldn’t someone want to become an adviser.

  4. Philip Castle 4th May 2018 at 9:33 am

    I agree with Duncan Jones and Mr Boleyn and although this might sound a bit schiizprehnic, I also agree with Justin.
    There is a LOT wrong with the industry adn there are a LOT of thinsg the F-pack are getting wrong and journalists in many cases are fueling flames.
    I find it funny being able to claim I am a younger than average advsier at 53!
    & a good future career is concerned, it IS, but new entranst need to come in to it with their eyes fully open. At 18 my children would never have joined my firm as they knew how much pressure I was under at times and they heard all the bad including petty regulation and my anger with provdiers incompetence and my (consctructive) criticism. They didn’t see the good and the nice bits of the work with clients and it was only after my son at 24 came to help me out for a month when one of my traineees was off sick that he saw what a great job it is compared to what he was doing ad had done before i.e. accountancy firm, recruitment and Army before that.
    It is a brilliant job, but you have to make sure you approach it on your terms. You are the employee of the client and NOT the F-pack or anyone else. You do what is right for the client (based on your training knowledge and experience), not on what the F-pack or anyone else tells you. Large numbers of their staff are just out of Uni with no knowledege of anything other than school and Uni and haven’t even read their own rule book before they start trying to tell us what to think and do.

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