Pensions, the weather and Princess Diana. These are said to be the go-to staples of a certain tabloid when news is particularly slow.
If there were to be an adviser equivalent, stories about FCA bans and fines, fraud, celebrities and poor advice would be up there.
Last week we saw footballer Alan Shearer settle a £9m damages claim with his adviser over accusations of negligent advice – a kind of holy trinity of an advice headline.
But while these stories are well read among the adviser community, we do not want these kind of headlines to be clients’ sole reference point when it comes to the value of advice.
Occasionally, I am asked why we apparently focus on “bad news” and do not run more positive advice stories.
I do not believe there is undue priority given to the bad stuff, but I am happy to set the record straight on how advisers are perceived and the reality of the advice profession, and the esteem with which the sector should be held in. This perception gap is not limited to consumers, but also extends to some advisers.
The mood music played by some suggests advisers are nothing but a “doomed species” (to quote former Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Lord Newby), what with a regulator that does not understand them, and mounting costs and liabilities.
These challenges are real ones, but despite all this, research carried out by Money Marketing suggests advisers on the whole are a generally happy bunch.
They believe they are trusted and respected by their clients, and that they are paid well for what they do. Many would also recommend a career as a financial planner.
So far so good. But there is a cloud to this silver lining, in that it is only advised clients that have seen the light in terms of the positives financial planning can deliver. The difficulty lies in spreading the message wider.
Advisers say both professional bodies and the trade bodies representing advice firms need to do more to boost and promote advice. They say while organisations such as the PFS have made strides, there is more to do.
Increasingly advisers are taking matters into their own hands, creating their own training programmes and holding their own conferences to better further the profession. There is also momentum building with efforts to build the advice sector beyond its current base. All in all, a good news story about advice. Wonders will never cease.
Natalie Holt is editor of Money Marketing – follow her on Twitter here