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Firing Line: James Priday

Simplicity is the word when it comes to delivering financial advice for the majority of the UK population according to James Priday, director at Prydis Wealth.

A lot has been said about the evolution of automated and simplified advice services in the wake of the retail distribution review

For Mr Priday, advisory firms have been slow to offer a simplified service because of concerns over the lack of clear regulatory distinction between guidance and advice.

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“Ninety per cent of the UK population probably do not need full blown financial advice or a financial planner. Simple advice is needed for simple choices.”

Mr Priday unveiled a plan to launch an online simplified advisory service by the end of August which will be integrated into Strawberry Invest, an execution-only platform which he founded.

He said the simplified advisory service would require the investor to complete an online questionnaire to gauge how much money they are looking to invest, for how long and their attitude to risk.

It would tailor a report from the investor’s responses, complete with a list of recommended investments. Details of how the service would be funded are yet to be disclosed.

Mr Priday said that he is also considering operating a phone-based simplified advice service, although details of how it would work is yet to be discussed.

Mr Priday is something of a rarity in the financial service industry.

He is young, aged 27, yet he holds the position of director at the Devon-advisory firm which first formed in 1991- specialising in accounting, tax, wealth, pensions and law

Youth can be a challenging thing in an industry widely populated by ageing financial planners – many of whom are approaching retirement, according to Mr Priday.

“When dealing with clients, who are often aged 50-plus, young advisers have to prove that we are pretty good, pretty soon. Some organisations think that because you are in your 20s, you are not capable of dealing with the wealthier clients.”

He added: “If you are good at what you do, age does not have to be a factor. I think one problem we have in this industry is that a lot of people hide behind age and perceived experience. I often find that young people are a lot hungrier, come in with fresh ideas and embrace technology.”

Mr Priday has a background in accountancy. After achieving a first-class degree in accounting and finance at Exeter University, the institution awarded him a scholarship to study accounting and finance at master’s level free of charge – while simultaneously employing him to teach first-year undergraduate accountancy students.

So perhaps more than many, he keeps a close eye on changes to investment rules, such as the Budget consultation on whether to extend the list of Isa-qualifying investments to equity and debt securities offered by crowdfunding platforms.

For Mr Priday, the propositions are simply too risky to include within tax-efficient individual savings accounts.