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Why no amount of marketing can replace advice

I read with a heavy heart Money Marketing&#39s articles on the speech given by Mr Sandler and once again I find myself moved to put pen to paper.

Of all that was said by Mr Sandler, I would agree with one point – greater prominence is to be given to measures aimed at stim-ulating the level of savings in this country.

What a wonderful phrase.It is perhaps fitting then that most of the mass market Mr Sandler describes would require advice to understand that wonderful phrase.

I am not for a moment suggesting that the mass market are dim, just that the majority of people do not express themselves in those terms.

As for commission being an opaque loan, this is a very interesting concept and may even contain some truth.

I for one would jump at the idea of presenting a bill at the end of each and every client meeting and not having to wait for commission payments from providers.

There is only one hitch with this Utopian ideal – the mass market would not be able to afford the bill and therefore would be excluded from receiving advice. A carefully chosen word not used loosely.

Survey after survey has confirmed that the mass market wants advice and despite all the technology and direct-sales routes available, they are happy to keep coming back to the IFA to find it.

Many years ago, when I was still new to this industry, I was sitting in a prospective clients&#39 living room.

This was a married couple in their late 20s with three young children. I was advising them on the need for life insurance while they told me all the reasons they did not need or want it.

By 10pm that evening, they had life cover. Was my advice right or was I just selling for commission?

Less than two years later, the husband was dead, the victim of a road traffic accident. The wife and family are still clients and would not dream of making a financial decision without first seeking advice.

I am quite sure that there are hundreds if not thousands of similar stories out there. That fact does not devalue the story. It only goes to prove these contracts need to be sold, they are not just bought.

The sooner the Government and all the various regulators and review bodies realise this fact, the better.

The stakeholder pension debacle has proven, if proof were needed, that no matter how easy you make it, no matter how much money you throw at advertising, the mass market will not buy until someone advises them of the individual benefits of any given contract.

If we as IFAs are to be paid by means of an opaque loan, then so be it. Rather that than have the mass market more and more reliant on the State for handouts because they have not received the appropriate advice.

Gresham Worgan-Blake Independent Financial Services,

Aberdeen

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