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What advisers are saying: Providers need to make themselves useful

phil

Buzzfeed has compiled a ‘Top 20 most useful comments on YouTube’ this week.

At number two, someone has posted the MacGyver theme song which, before you judge, got over a million hits.

Ok, go ahead and judge. But it wasn’t the ‘80’s pretender to the Knightrider throne’ post itself that grabbed the runner up spot, but rather a comment from someone called ozzyhendrix who shared with the world “I listen to this while building Ikea furniture”.

It’s good to see recognition for all contributions to our betterment.

Speaking of which (and rounding off the offshore series) there are many things providers and platforms can do to help advisers in this under-used, undervalued and, in the main, not very well understood area of the market.

Providers and platforms need to first consider the fundamentals underpinning their likely utility and relevance to the advisers they wish to target. Understanding these drivers will help providers to make their messages more useful, relevant and likely to resonate.

As a starter for 10, having appropriate trusts to combine with offshore bonds will be essential for any product provider or platform looking to be active in the estate planning market – an area of planning advisers expect to grow significantly.

Given the relentless HMRC activity in relation to “aggressive” tax avoidance there is also a strong need to give clear, informed and believable reassurance in relation to the acceptability of offshore products (in and out of trust) as “acceptable tax planning”.

Advisers will not go anywhere near the cliff edge in this environment and the need for better education and inspiration on offshore solutions is a strong and very real source of potential differentiation.

An important part of any education programme will be clear comparison of offshore and onshore products to enable advisers to make informed choices.

Almost as a hygiene factor, providers and platforms need to be able to better explain product features (throughout the business) and their utilities (tax and otherwise) to help advisers articulate when an offshore bond is suitable (as opposed to a UK bond or an unwrapped fund), how it operates and why it delivers tax benefit for particular investors or categories of investor.

More time and attention to the development of consultant and support staff is a likely requirement. While this may not be the easiest, or cheapest, undertaking, it is the difficult work that’s often most worth doing because it allows you to stand out, create value and be someone worth doing business with.

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

P Wickenden-Adviser comments-2013

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