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What advisers are saying: Editor’s comment of the week

Tortuous terminology seeks only to impress, not enlighten

In my experience, most clients are seeking good advice crafted from experience, professional knowledge and empathy with their position. These people have neither the inclination nor, sometimes, the ability to understand the tortuous terminology of our industry, which is designed to impress rather than enlighten. 

In the espoused intention of making ourselves more professional, we run a very real risk of alienating ourselves from the bulk of the population. These same people are now precluded from seeking advice on their low-level, but still very real, problems. 

Currently we are seeing the next big scandal, which has been developing in full sight of the regulators for the past three or four years, where unethical businesses persuade people to “review” their pensions. 

In one case that came across my desk, a lorry driver’s pension was “reviewed” so that he now owns one bedroom in a hotel in Cape Verde. Not only was he totally unaware of the risks but he also signed away his rights after being pressed by the agent. 

This is the type of client who is victim to the siren voices of a “free” review, subsequent recommendations and a catastrophic re-arrangement of his affairs.

John West

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