View more on these topics

Independent view

In these litigious and spin-filled days, the public is increasingly suspicious, particularly of politicians.

Trust and integrity have for so long quite naturally been taken for granted. This is no longer so and, sadly, in the financial services world, the end result is an increasingly sceptical consumer.

Investors are more than ever wary of taking advice and in many cases no one can blame them. There is a perceived lack of regulatory teeth, no confidence in pensions, corporate theft, so-called endowment and transfer scandals – the list goes on.

Yet we know that more than ever, the public needs to provide financially for the future and to get quality advice it can trust. This is an exciting and great opportunity for IFAs.

Provided we can overcome the bad press, Consumers&#39 Association scaremongering, Coronation Street script writers, increasing costs, price capping, etc, the future is really bright. If we do the job properly, with real client care, we will thrive.

It does mean working in smarter and leaner ways and fully embracing technology. Some IFAs will not cope but those who work smarter will survive and thrive.

We are a three-RI firm yet growing steadily, with five admin support staff. Proud of our standards and our client loyalty like so many other IFA firms, over 10 years, we have sensibly built a high level of fund-based income. This has held us in good stead and enabled us to provide high levels of service to our clients and to plan our future with confidence. Our clients expect high levels of care. Many were referred to us by their solicitor or accountant and a few by their stockbroker.

Ah, stockbrokers. Go on, guys, burn those braces, roll up your sleeves and form links with quality IFAs. We will agree to protect your client and might even pay you a share of our fee/commission. We are not bond-floggers, as you like to think of us, but we do look at the wider picture, including equities, long-term care, protection, etc.

We might also send you clients, (yes, we do have quality clients). You need to provide your clients with added value and a wide range of services. If not, the banks will.

Hmm, banks. I am increasingly puzzled as to why so many people go to their bank or building society for investment advice. Over-zealous counter staff left one of our elderly clients afraid to go to her branch. She has a fairly high current account balance and that is her choice but the bank staff grab her every time she goes in for a guaranteed bond or some other inappropriate product.

Our clients are always happy to recommend others to us and that, for any professional, is the best source of clients. Solicitors and accountants who understand IFAs and how they work can have a very useful relationship and can provide a valued additional service for their clients.

This is a real area where IFAs can assess the client&#39s requirements, relieving the professional introducer of that burden of the responsibility of giving financial advice. Remember the ever-increasing and litigious clients/beneficiaries who consider that the solicitor has “implied that equity advice is appropriate”. “Why did you suggest a stockbroker and not the wider services offered by an IFA?” There is no magic answer in developing solicitor and accountant connections except to keep close, do not be a nuisance and yet add value to their client relationship. Keep them informed, involve them where necessary and look after their client along the way.

A good measure of whether a professional link will work is if they are prepared occasionally to buy you lunch. If they see the IFA as a meal ticket, then watch out, they are probably not treating you as the professional you are.

We are aware that to survive as an IFA we need to be constantly improving our systems, knowledge and client services. There are some great opportunities out there for the big number of quality IFAs that exist. Form links with other IFAs and professional connections and enjoy a great future.

Arnold Wills is business development director at A Wills & Co

Recommended

Norwich Union increases equity release market share

Norwich Union&#39s share in the equity release has increased to almost 45 per cent at the half year according to Safe Home Income Plans&#39 latest figures. The figures show that Norwich Union&#39s equity release sales for the first half of 2003 totalled £252m, equating to almost £10m a week of equity being released.Head of marketing […]

Talkback

Do you agree with Alan Pickering that Isas are better than pensions for people who think that they may receive meanstested benefits in retirement ? “Yes, because of their flexibility and higher income potential.” Nigel Sanders, Choice Investment Services“Yes. When the stockmarket picks up, Isas could be preferable.” Alan Downs, Collingwood Financial Consultants“Yes, because of […]

Product matters

The bulk buyout market is attracting the attention of most big players in the pensions market and, fuelled by Opra&#39s assessment that there are up to 30,000 occupational schemes currently in wind-up, Clerical Medical is no exception. Arguably, there are three keys to success in this market which are: charges, fund links and the ability […]

Standard will not close WP funds

Standard Life has released a formal statement declaring it has no intention of closing its with-profits funds and saying it is considering launching a new range next year. The statement is in response to reports saying it planned to close current with-profits funds. Standard says it is fully committed to with-profits and that in response […]

In Focus image

In Focus — May 2015: private medical insurance market in Germany

Welcome to the latest edition of In Focus. In this issue, Jelf examines the private medical insurance market for employers with expatriate workforces in Germany. This includes the common challenges faced in sourcing appropriate coverage, along with a selection of available solutions. This will be of particular interest to HR/reward decision makers with employees based in Germany. It will assess the cultural norms, risks and backdrop that are relevant to organisations with expatriate staff in this location.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com