Against a backdrop of change and uncertainty, there has arguably never been a better time to work with professionals. Solicitors and accountants are more open to working with financial advisers and there are a couple of big drivers:
1: Regulatory framework
The regulatory framework has changed enormously with the Legal Services Act and the Jackson Review – the sine qua non being equity partners are likely to see the value of their equity fall 20 per cent and are looking for more embedded value.
2: Work availability:
With less work about, professionals are looking and are far more receptive to ideas from financial planners. In particular, we learned from Owen James’ latest Winning Advisers’ event, that there is a great opportunity from the emergence of “mid-tier millionaires” (not those from old-moneyed backgrounds) who do not know who to trust. Historically, the top law firms felt they had entitlement but things have changed.
These clients are less prepared to deal with big lawyers (with their horrendous charge-outs and models predicated on pushing work to lowest point). Equally, mid-tier millionaires do not want to be put in boxes. They now typically have three pots of money and different risk objectives for each (1: Protect and preserve 2: Intergenerational planning 3: Money to run DIY portfolios). Advisers are seeing more of these types of clients who believe the likes of private banks are ill-equipped to deal with their needs.
Given the growing disenchantment of mid-tier millionaires with what they increasingly perceive as unresponsive, inflexible private banks and impersonal legal firms, there is a huge opportunity to build a solution that focuses on “servicing”. But getting it right will require:
- Careful articulation of a very well defined proposition: the narrower the message the further it goes with professionals.
- A well-connected eco-system (lawyers, accountants, property services, insurance brokers, business transfer agents and private banks for lending facilities).
- Robust processes to deal with the most challenging element – the emotional dynamics.
Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s The Plan
All quotes have been taken from interviews with QCF 4 qualified financial advisers from fee-charging businesses