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Just 17% of adviser websites list fees, study finds

Only 17 per cent of adviser websites mention their fees, new analysis has shown, reigniting debates over online disclosure.

Of the 300 firms assessed by adviser marketing firm The Yardstick Agency, only  just five gave sufficient detail to tell clients what fees they would be likely to pay.

The results are down from last year, where nearly 35 per cent included information about fees.

The Yardstick Agency says that while some of the difference could be down to a change in methodology, where previously advisers were asked to self-report if they disclosed fees, compared to this year where websites were independently analysed, it remains clear that “only a tiny percentage of advisers and planners disclose their fees online”.

While there are advantages to online fee disclosure, including the appearance of transparency, fewer surprises for clients and allowing advisers to filter out those unwilling to pay a fair rate for advice, others remain cautious that disclosing fees online before conversations with clients will deter enquiries and advisers will not be able to discuss value ahead of price.

The Yardstick Agency director Phil Bray says different approaches can work for different types of firms.

He says: “What we do know for certain is that if you do decide to disclose your fees online you need to do so carefully, ensuring the consumer gets the information they need, while you demonstrate your value and remain compliant.”

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Nicholas Pleasure 25th May 2018 at 1:57 pm

    This one comes around with unfailing regularity. Unfortunately, unless you simply work on an hourly rate, it is virtually impossible to give any accurate idea of fees, because it is entirely down to what the client wants you to do. Even an hourly rate can be misleading because it is impossible for a potential client to understand how long a transaction might take.

    You will find exactly the same thing with anyone offering a service from solicitors to builders and mechanics.

    A garage cannot say ‘we will fix your car for £300’ because there are too many variables in that service. Same for us.

    • Julian Stevens 29th May 2018 at 10:11 am

      Exactly. It’s a typically stupid regulatory requirement, dreamed up by a bunch of armchair theorists who have NO IDEA about how things work out here in the real world, a classic example of the FCA’s perennial fixation on the cost of everything without regard for the actual work likely to be involved. As a financial adviser, you cannot give a price estimate until you’ve met the client, compiled a FactFind, an ATRQ, had a proper look at what he’s got, discussed with him what he’s hoping to achieve and explained to him the work likely to be involved to accomplish that. The cost of formulating a strategy appropriate to all that can’t POSSIBLY be covered by a schedule of “typical costs”. In practice, your quoted costs are virtually NEVER going to match what’s on your website or in your IDD. And anyway, isn’t one of the FCA’s prime requirements that advice should be tailored to the needs and objectives of each particular individual?

      It’s like contacting half a dozen builders and asking them to quote you a price for building a garage, a garden wall, a kitchen extension or a loft conversion. They’ll ALL give you the same response. All such programmes of work are subject to individual assessment according to the customer’s particular requirements and the scope of the job. It seems literally incredible that the FCA cannot see this.

      As an aside, a quick look through the Financial advisers’ section of any Yellow Pages reveals a quite surprising number of ad’s that don’t even mention the fact that the firm in question is Authorised and Regulated by the FCA. Beyond a certain point, the creation of ever more rules doesn’t produce more perfect industry practices, it just results in ever more rule breaches. Even Andrew Bailey has admitted this.

  2. I’m equally shocked that, on asking a plumber how much he would charge to ‘fix a few things in my bathroom’, he was nonplussed and offered no quote at all.

    #scandalous

  3. 5 out of 300 is 1.7%?

  4. Philip Castle 25th May 2018 at 5:25 pm

    I can’t see MM’s advertising fees quoetd on theri website? Does Yardstick ageny quote their’s?

    It’s luke asking me how long is YOUR piece of strong? Untilyou show me, how the &uck should I know? Yorue the one whose seen it.

    • Hi Philip

      Where possible we quote some of our fees online. For example, our Chartered animation discloses the pricing: https://theyardstickagency.co.uk/helping-you-promote-your-chartered-status/

      We will probably also add the pricing to the Yardstick Membership page too.

      We can’t quote for a website online as this is highly bespoke.

      We’re on the fence too as to whether advisers and planners should disclose their fees online. We can see both the advantages and disadvantages, but it’s down to the individual business to make a decision that’s right for them. If they decide to go ahead hopefully our checklist will help.

      Phil

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