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What advisers are saying: Robust and repeatable… but right?


The story is told of a young couple making dinner. The wife cuts the edges off the ham before she bakes it, and the husband asks: “Why do that? It seems wasteful.”

“I don’t know,” she answers, “it’s what my mother always did.”

So they ask the mother: “How come you cut all the ends off the ham before you bake it?”

“Because that’s the way mother always did it,” the mother says.

So they ask the grandmother: “Why did you always cut all the ends off the ham before you baked it?”

And the grandmother replies: “Well, that’s the only way I could get it to fit in the pan.”

Often we go through life rarely stopping to think about what we are doing or why. 

Robust, repeatable advice processes are great and necessary but they can make pro-activity harder if the infra- structure is not right.

For clients who are parents or grand- parents, the cost of higher education – let alone private primary and secondary education for those who are interested – and the cost of getting on the property ladder are subjects that most are interested in.

You would think this means the opportunity to engage with relevant clients on this subject is very strong.

But according to most advisers we engaged, this is not the case.

Advisers believe only 16 per cent of clients are concerned about funding for private education, a quarter are preoccupied by the need to help children fund their first property purchase and that only 28 per cent of clients are worried about the challenges of funding for higher education. 

In line with this low level of perceived relevance is equally low willingness: advisers feel that only around a fifth of their parent/grandparent client base would be prepared to invest in the child’s future (23 per cent among parents and 20 per cent among grandparents).

Which is reflected in the fact that less than a third of advisers felt there was a ‘good’ opportunity for them in this specific area (30 per cent), while over a fifth (22 per cent) felt there was no opportunity at all.

But revealingly, where clients were actively investing for children, 57 per cent of advisers had relied on the client to trigger need/action.

While this is not true of all businesses, in a market where more than half of clients have to pro-actively prod their adviser about such fundamental and clearly life-stage driven requirements, it raises some serious questions about and repeatable, perhaps, but right?

Phil Wickenden is managing director of So Here’s The Plan phil@soheresthepla: nExtracts from IFA interviews…



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