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What advisers are saying: Investing for children is more than a fad

OOC MANN

There are some fads and fashions that are easy to spot and other trends that are slightly more beguiling. As I laid on my back next to an uncharacteristically quiet 7 week old, gazing up at a monkey, some butterflies and (inexplicably) an elephant suspended from an Amazonian canopy I encountered the latter.

I had been referring to Noah’s new play mat as a ‘jungle’ until my wife pointed out that it was technically a rainforest (we argued convivially until I retrieved the packaging that floored my case – damn you Fisher Price!).

After further exploration (and I fully accept I have a problem here!) I discovered that use of the terms jungle vs. rainforest has varied greatly during the last several centuries, both because of the ambiguity in the application of the terms and their use in popular culture. The word “jungle” accounted for over 80 per cent of the terms used to refer to tropical forests in print media prior to the 1970s but since then it has been steadily replaced by “rainforest”. Apparently “rainforest” itself did not appear in English dictionaries prior to the 1970s.

The present cultural predilection for all things baby is less hard to pin down courtesy of Wills, Kate and George. And 78 per cent of advisers believe there is at least some opportunity in the under-cooked area of investing for children.  

Advisers believe that increasing media coverage and public awareness of the increasing costs of education and property will make it easier for them to have conversations with clients in the future. But barriers to engagement exist.

Advisers recognise that there are things that they need to do better to overcome obstacles: Nearly a third felt that they would better leverage potential by developing more impactful client facing marketing material – outlining opportunities and solutions to common concerns.

But there was also a rather candid admission that it is an area that needs to be taken more seriously, with many advisers recognising the need to better embed it into fact finds to ensure conversations are happening both earlier and more regularly.

But, there are also things that providers need to do better:

1) Products: Advisers require simpler packaged solutions for this area of the market. The introduction of ‘family-friendly’ portfolios is a clearly stated need.

2) Marketing activity: Better thought through adviser and client facing collateral is needed to a) promote urgency with clients and b) to raise awareness and understanding of the solutions (and combinations of solutions) available for advisers.

Phil Wickenden is managing director of So Here’s The Plan phil@soherestheplan.co.uk

Extracts from IFA interviews…

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