Jeff Prestridge  

How to beat big advisers

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

It is easy to be churlish about this new venture. After all, it is only seven years ago that Lloyds Bank abandoned the provision of mass financial advice through its branch network.

At the time, it left the advice market with its tail firmly between its legs and for good measure with a couple of black eyes after the Financial Conduct Authority hit it with a record £28m fine.

The charge sheet shamed the bank with staff pressured into selling investment and protection products when they were not always suitable. Failure to hit sales targets meant demotion and in some cases the bullet.

Even though Schroders Personal Wealth is still in formation mode, the critics are already out in force.

One comment I saw online was to the point. Any potential client, they said, “would be well advised to steer clear of this operation”. They added: “I imagine the costs will be excessive, the service will be sub-standard, the performance will be bang average, but it will all go under the radar of the regulator.”

Maybe this person will be right, but nobody really knows – not even Mr Rainbow – how Schroders Personal Wealth is going to perform. It might surprise us and be as slick as SJP, or it might prove an unprofitable flop that Lloyds soon gets bored with. We just do not know.

Is its formation good news? I think it is.

It will focus many people’s minds on the need for wealth management and that has to be good news for all wealth managers – be they the SJPs of the world, financial adviser networks or good local financial planners.

In this ever changing financial world – one dominated by greater personal financial responsibility, opportunities and bear traps – we need a vibrant wealth management industry. One serving the financial needs of this fine country’s citizens.

As financial planners, it is for you to rise above both SJP and Schroders Personal Wealth and demonstrate that when it comes to the personal touch, you are untouchable. Unrivalled. Crème de la crème. Now for a glass of Merlot.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of the Mail on Sunday