‘Make friends with accountants’

‘Make friends with accountants’

More than two-thirds of advisers think establishing a formal relationship with an accountant will boost their business, Vince Smith-Hughes has said.

The director of business development at Prudential, said that pension freedom has underlined the importance of independent financial advice and “massively raised its profile” among major firms, directors and small and medium-sized enterprises.

This means that markets that may have been closed before are potentially opening up, but there is a realisation that advisers may need additional expertise, such as tax or legal knowledge.

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Prudential is hosting a nationwide series of seminars for advisers and accountants, supported by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales Financial Services Faculty, which is aimed at helping firms to identify opportunities.

His comments came as research by Prudential among advisory firms highlighted the growing importance of tax expertise following the launch of pension freedom.

Some 45 per cent of advisers said they would welcome further training on technical taxation issues and a similar amount want to know more about regulation of accountancy.

Prudential’s study also identified demand from advisers for more support from product providers on strengthening connections with other professions. Nearly a third (30 per cent) of advisers said they would welcome provider assistance in expanding their business connections.

In September, Scottish accountancy firm French Duncan boosted its wealth management arm, rebranding it from French Duncan Financial Services to French Duncan Wealth Management.

At the time, Zane Hunter, managing director of French Duncan Wealth Management, said: “Our rebranding more closely reflects our specialist offering of bespoke, fee-based financial planning and investment management advice and guidance.

“The provision of wealth management advice has changed dramatically over the past decade. There have been significant changes to legislation and most people accept that further changes are yet to come.”

Adviser view

Sheriar Bradbury, managing director of London-based IFA Bradbury Hamilton, said, “I think it is a good idea for IFAs to form professional partnerships with accountants, lawyers and even general insurance brokers. This means the client can have a one-stop shop.

“Visiting their account can mean that the accountant can identify areas where more advice is needed. We have a joint venture with Raffingers Stuart, a firm of accountants based in Essex. They have many SME clients and we have an adviser in their office and we are looking to hire another.”