Consulting director at The Lang Cat Steve Nelson talks making sure clients know what they’re buying and the joys of research ahead of his appearance at Money Marketing’s flagship conference.
What one word or phrase do you think sums up the state of the financial planning profession today?
I’m going to defer to our adviser panel here. Regulation (or rather, over-regulation) was the biggest theme of our most recent adviser research when we asked them to sum up financial services in one word.
What do we need to do to improve financial literacy in the UK?
It seems like common sense to me that basics around compound interest and personal debt should be part of the maths curriculum. It’s plain weird to me that I can still remember the basics of trigonometry (SOH CAH TOA) but have no recollection of learning how a mortgage worked.
There’s also a wider point around maths and arithmetic being perceived as nerdy things to be good at as opposed to a core skill. But I would say that, what with me being a massive nerd.
How important do you think coaching and life planning are to a modern advice business?
This seems to be a growing trend but it’s probably no more important than it ever was and will vary from client to client. Some folk probably need a bit of coaching whereas I could see it being off-putting for others.
What is the one key skill all aspiring advisers should learn?
Research. Look at all the providers, platforms, investments, software, tools and the rest that all have to work together to form an adviser proposition. Distilling all of this into something that works for your business and your clients (and reviewing it regularly) is a challenge.
If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing would you change about how the advice profession operates in the UK?
I’d somehow make it easier for customers to see the distinction and make an informed choice between advisers who act independently of providers or asset managers and those who are vertically-integrated. I’m not sure how to achieve that but it was you who introduced the concept of a magic wand.