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What advisers are saying: The Weber-Fechner law

Phil Wickenden Technical Area 200

The Weber-Fechner Law is the relationship between the magnitude of a physical stimulus and the intensity or strength that people feel.

So, it is easier to tell the difference between two bags of flour that are three ounces apart in weight when one weighs a pound, than it is to tell the difference between two bags that are three ounces apart when one weighs twenty pounds. It’s easier to tell the difference between two light bulbs that are six lumens apart when one is just 2 lumens bright than it is to tell them apart when one is 200 lumens.

The more stimuli you’re getting the less easily you can notice the difference. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for providers and platforms looking to have an impact in the IHT/estate planning space.

While advisers have discussed IHT planning for 63 per cent of their client base, they have typically carried out planning for only 22 per cent.This suggests that of all the clients for whom advisers feel IHT planning could be relevant (by virtue of them having had a discussion in the first instance) nearly two thirds have not taken things further. Advisers are looking for a more structured approach and, while far less reliant on them, believe that there are ways providers and platforms may be able to help.

What advisers value most are accessible (and responsive) support desks manned by experts in particular areas of IHT and estate planning. Advisers also appreciate being kept abreast of key legislative / taxation changes that may impact their clients or give rise to new opportunities.

While some providers performed well in certain areas of support (Octopus, Canada Life, Skandia, Zurich and Axa in particular), a high proportion of advisers believe that ‘no-one’ currently stands out.

This is good news because, applying the Weber-Fechner law, If you’re trying to delight existing customers, the more delighted they already are, the more new delight you need to offer to turn heads. From a base of low satisfaction, any well thought out and delivered support in the IHT/estate planning space will have a positively disproportionate effect.

The bad news is that the law also holds true that when entering a market filled with loudness, it’s harder to be noticed, even if the incremental benefit you offer (through service or support) is significant. While the level of IHT related marketing is low, the general backdrop of FS advertising noise is at fever pitch, meaning cutting through will require some serious creativity. Over to you.

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

MM Wickenden 1110

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