CompaniesMay 8 2013

Advisers concerned ongoing advice fees too low: study

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Over 40 per cent of adviser firms are concerned that the remuneration they are receiving through their post-Retail Distribution Review pricing model for ongoing servicing of clients and may not cover their costs, a survey of over 1,300 adviser firms has revealed.

The latest edition of Adviser Snapshot, which conducts research amongst adviser firms to monitor the way in which they are reacting to the new regulatory environment, revealed that post-RDR, 60 per cent of firms charge solely on the basis of a percentage of the amount invested.

According to the survey only 8 per cent charge a regular, fixed fee and 16 per cent use a combination of the two techniques.

While 50 per cent of respondents have no specific concerns about managing their on-going service, 42 per cent are concerned about ensuring that the cost of providing it does not exceed the fees they charge.

Around 86 per cent of firms are now offering a charged for on-going service and only 3 per cent are offering no on-going service at all. Around 7 per cent of respondents are offering ongoing service without explicit charge.

The most common services being offered are annual reviews, access to the adviser and other staff, reviews more regularly than annually, and valuations.

The survey also revealed that fewer than one in 10 are concerned about ensuring that clients get value for money from the on-going service, while 24 per cent of firms are reporting problems with providers not being able to administer charges in the way they had intended.

Some other services being offered include free fund switches and reviews of risk and changes in circumstances. The most common services being offered were the same as pre-RDR, but now some advisers offer unlimited valuations or access to the adviser or they are limiting them.

The survey represents a cross-section of the adviser community, with 86 per cent of responding advisers directly authorised, 69 per cent working at a firm with three or fewer advisers, and 96 per cent offering an independent service.

A spokesperson for Action Consulting, who launched Adviser Snapshot earlier this year, said: “The research does fuel concerns about the sector: many firms are worried about the impact of the loss of trail on their future revenue, but not many seem to be taking active steps to ensure that the on-going service they deliver is both valued by the client and cost-effective to deliver.”