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Unbiased winners talk social media and the trouble with annuities

Advisers need to harness the power of social media to pick up new clients, according to Unbiased.co.uk Media Awards winner Pete Matthew.

Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthew picked up the award for social media adviser of the year at the Unbiased annual awards ceremony in London last week. Matthew is an avid user of social media including Twitter and LinkedIn, and is also the creator of the MeaningfulMoney.tv, a consumer financial education website featuring videos and podcasts.

Matthew says: “I use Twitter and podcasts to try and educate the public on financial services issues. A lot of new business now comes through those channels and next year online will overtake referrals as the main source of new leads.

“If I were starting an adviser firm from scratch now I would be hitting the social media hard.”

Pavilion Financial Services chartered financial planner Claire Walsh, who won young financial adviser of the year, says: “I feel quite aware of the online piece. As an adviser community we have to really work hard to differentiate ourselves from the direct-to-consumer routes.”

Walsh works in schools with charity Magnified Learning to try and boost financial awareness. She says surveys conducted during those sessions show around 80 per cent of school students would prefer to receive financial advice through a face to face meeting than an online alternative.

Spotlight on annuities

Invest Southwest managing director Dave Penny, who picked up the judges’ award, says advisers are ideally placed to benefit from the current scrutiny of the annuity market.

He says: “Where we have a client where an annuity is appropriate and we look at that option for them, about 80 per cent of the time an enhanced annuity option is available. 

“The problem is there is so much confusing information in provider literature that consumers just end up burying their heads in the sand, or taking what seems to be the easy option. That means they often do not get the best deal.”

The client perspective

Addidi Wealth managing director Anna Sofat scooped the financial adviser of the year award. Her business includes angel investor group Addidi Angels, and Addidi Pioneers, designed to support investment into philanthropic projects.

She recognises some firms are focused on growing assets under advice but says that is not the way Addidi works.

Sofat says: “We try to look at financial services not from a product or industry perspective but from the client perspective. Sometimes that means accepting that the right decision for the client may leave you with less funds under advice. One client recently wanted to purchase property abroad. We helped her achieve that but it reduces our funds under advice.”

Her long-term plan is the possibility of making staff shareholders in the company. Sofat adds: “It is important to our culture that everybody shares in the profits of the business.”

The rest of the Unbiased adviser winners:

  • Bluebook newcomer: Principal Financial Solutions director Christopher Daems
  • Investment adviser of the year: Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe
  • Pension adviser of the year: Principal Financial Solutions director Christopher Daems
  • At retirement adviser of the year: EA Financial Solutions managing director Minesh Patel
  • Mortgage adviser of the year: London & Country Mortgages director David Hollingworth
  • Protection adviser of the year: Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey
  • Responsible investment adviser of the year: Holden & Partners partner Mark Hoskin
  • Value of advice ambassador: Carematters head of care fee planning Lorreine Kennedy
  • Estate planning adviser of the year: Hargreaves Lansdown head of financial planning Danny Cox 

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