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What advisers are saying: Meeting the need for instant gratification

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The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives, making us far less patient.

We’ve come to expect things so quickly that researchers found people can’t wait more than a few seconds for a video to load.

UMass Amherst examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users in a study released last year. How long were subjects willing to be patient? Two seconds.

After that they started abandoning. After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25 percent. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone. Tolerance for delay is in short supply.

But more.  that’s good news for tax planning. Or should be. Two-thirds of advisers believe that tax minimisation is at least ‘quite important’ a part of their overall advice proposition.

But despite Government censure, public uproar and media attention (to both corporate and personal tax avoidance) three quarter of advisers say that tax mitigation has not become any more important over the last 12 months. The vast majority of advisers (76.8 percent) expected to see no change in the extent to which tax minimisation plays a part of their overall business mix going forward.

This feels like a missed opportunity given that advisers also tell us:

a) Clients are increasingly aware of tax issues and mitigation schemes available
b) Clients are feeling unfairly targeted by the government
c) Changes to tax and pensions regimes have presented clear opportunities for engagement

But perhaps most importantly, many advisers talk about the need to be seen to be clearly delivering value to clients since putting a fee-paying process in place, post-RDR.

Unlike projected (hoped for) investment returns, the savings from tax planning are a known quantity. As such it’s an area where clients can clearly see the value of the expertise they are paying for.

The need for instant gratification is not new, but our expectation of ‘instant’ has become faster, and as a result, our patience is thinner. A prime example? Saving. Households are saving less of their income than at any point since the beginning of 2009. Yes, people are being squeezed between fast rises in the cost of living and falls in disposable income, but our growing focus on immediacy may also play a role.

With tax minimisation, advisers don’t have to wait for the future to tangibly demonstrate the value they are adding. It’s instant and it’s certain, and that’s a rare thing.

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

Extracts from IFA interviews…

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