Your IndustryMay 22 2013

Majority of advisers charge percentage of funds: survey

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ByIona Bain

A survey carried out by the MyTouchstone database found that 83 per cent of advisers charged a percentage of funds under management, with the average rate standing at 2.67 per cent.

Some of the advisers also charged an hourly fee to some clients instead of a percentage and the research found that 46 per cent of advisers charged an average hourly rate of £164.92.

The poll of 1156 advisers also found that 29 per cent would charge certain clients a fixed one-off fee, while only one in 10 opted for a retainer.

Peter Welch, the intermediary director of MyTouchstone, suggested that charging a percentage on investments could be seen as more “acceptable” for clients.

He said: “Obviously the charge will be transparent to the client but by deducting it from the total investment being made, rather than as an additional fee, advisers may feel this is more likely to be accepted by their clients.”

Mr Welch also suggested that further changes to charging patterns may occur as advisers settle into a post-RDR world. He added: “In the coming months it will be interesting to see how the market evolves as clients and intermediaries alike become accustomed to the adviser charging world.”

The research follows comments made by Clive Waller, founder of CWC Research, on the viability of common charging models. Speaking at the launch of a 28-page report on adviser charging, compiled in connection with FundsNetwork, Mr Waller warned that firms could put off clients by publishing needlessly high hourly fees.

He argued that a charge of £160 would be commensurate with an adviser’s average yearly income of £80,000, yet many were setting rates of between £200 and £500.

Mr Waller said: “We know that few advisers are actually doing work by the hour so why publish a high number that could really put off clients when you’re not really charging it?”

He said clients may perceive a 1 per cent charge on assets worth £500,000 in terms of their salary, adding: “If that client has an annual income of £30,000, that charge alone makes up 16.6 per cent. Many advisers would argue that it should be perceived as a percentage on the total capital but clients don’t see it that way.

“If your initial fee is high, the payback is quick but it may put off clients and be a big boost to your competition. There is no way that clients could compare your charges before RDR but the regulator and media are determined to make it a competitive market now. There is no getting away from that.”