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Letter to the editor: Advisers should be praised for their work with older clients

Comment related to interview with Age UK chief executive Tom Wright: How to fund the ageing process?

I am a 67-year-old IFA and honorary president of New Focus, a church-based group which seeks to meet the needs of retired people in Guildford. 

Until two years ago I had a very hands-on role leading this group of retirees and I agree with much of what Tom Wright said. But the statement that “the financial services sector does not cater properly for older people” would have been more accurate if it had said that “some product providers” do not cater properly for older people. 

I wish people would realise that the majority of IFAs are doing a terrific job of dealing with the needs of older people. In fact, if you compare what we do for the elderly with what solicitors, accountants and bank managers do, it is surprising that so few of us have been knighted. 

The RDR has made it increasingly difficult for IFAs to deal with less well-off retired people but that is hardly our fault. In my experience it is IFAs who are talking to elderly people about the importance of making a will or reviewing a will made a long time ago, or about inheritance tax mitigation, the use of trusts and how vital it is to arrange a lasting power of attorney. 

While our target market post-RDR has to be the better off because we are not running a charity, most IFAs of my acquaintance seem to have made some sort of provision for dealing with people with small pension pots. We have many clients in their eighties and are usually happy to visit them in their homes.

Some people have looked into the future while in their thirties and forties and squirrelled away money in pensions and Isas. They have found that, together with their state pension, this gives them enough money in retirement and often some to spare. 

Many others have spent all of their income during their working lives and foolishly trusted that someone else would take care of their two or three decades of retirement. The truth is that however hard we wish, the money is simply not there to do so. 

Arthur Childs, Arch Financial Planning

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