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PFS: Advisers need to boost online presence

Advisers, rather than the Money Advice Service, have a key role to play in reaching out to unadvised consumers, says the Personal Finance Society.

In its latest research report on consumers and the RDR, published today, the PFS says it has changed its view on how best to educate unadvised consumers.

It says: “In our 2011 and 2012 surveys, we took the view the MAS has an important role to play in the process of educating unadvised consumers.

“This year we have slightly altered our view, and now believe that advisers themselves have a key role in reaching out to this market.

“This is because of the high proportion of ‘self-advisers’ [DIY investors] who rely on internet-based resources for their research. It suggests that if advisers were to increase their online presence, and invest in creating resources online that can provide consumers with information to help with their research, with the promise of more if they booked a face-to-face session, this might help.”

The research, carried out online among 2,000 consumers in December, found that of those who have not received advice, 35 per cent are aware of the increased levels of qualification resulting from the RDR and 47 per cent are aware of the introduction of adviser charging.

Asked where they heard about the changes, 37 per cent said newspapers and magazines, 12 per cent said friends and family and 10 per cent said financial assistance websites. Just 5 per cent of consumers cited the FCA website and 4 per cent cited the MAS.

The PFS says: “This points to the media as the public’s primary source of information on investment issues, along with financial assistance websites such as moneysavingexpert.com.

“Other information sources such as the MAS or the FCA website have ranked very low, suggesting that actual or potential customers of financial advice do not really use these sources.”

The survey also found that of those who had received advice, 80 per cent said they had not experienced any difficulty finding an adviser.

There were significant variations by age group, however, with only 63 per cent of 25 to 35 year olds saying they had no difficulty getting advice.

Among that age group, 19 per cent said they did not know where to look to find an adviser.

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