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Urquhart Stewart: Family-focused IFAs to thrive post-RDR

The current economic and regulatory upheaval is providing opportunities for fee-based family financial planners and this trend is set to continue with the incoming Retail Distribution Review, the rise in technology and the current austerity, 7IM founder Justin Urquhart Stewart has said.

In an interview with FTAdviser, Mr Urquhart Stewart, marketing director at 7IM, said that in times of austerity, people want someone to trust and a fee-based planner operating for a family and co-ordinating their financial affairs could have opportunities in the market.

He said: “What we are seeing is the rise of the financial planner and the development of the fee-based planner.

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“Right now we are operating in a changing market - RDR, the move to fees and qualifications, technology such as wraps, platforms and low cost investment and austerity, and these all together create fantastic opportunities.

“Many financial planners are offering a family service to the British middle class. With a family, it is even more important to co-ordinate tax, mortgages, healthcare, financial processes and this also ensure that there is no doubling up with fees and charges.”

Mr Urquhart Stewart said 7IM is working with Jim Reeve, former Positive Solutions’s chief executive following his launch of Signature Private Clients, which aims to provide consultancy services to large and mid-sized advice businesses and providers.

According to Mr Urquhart Stewart, Mr Reeve will be focusing on attracting fee-based family planners as these advisers have no trouble charging a fee because they know their role - “they are sorting out a family’s financial affairs”.

He said: “It is those that don’t know what they are providing to clients who will struggle in a fee-based world. These family IFAs are a financial doctor for the family and are co-ordinating financial affairs on a financial basis.

“They charge a monthly fee for this and people will pay it as they can see the value of a regular service. They make sure everything is organised.”

Following the launch of Signature Private Clients, Mr Urquhart Stewart is “certain” that there will be a rise in the number of firms offering this service.

He said: “A lot of people are using stockbrokers and it is a very different culture between stockbrokers and financial planners. People don’t want to use banks anymore for obvious reasons. They feel central confidence when they have a financial plan for the next forty years.