IFA  

Brits lack trust in advice

Alison Steed

Alison Steed

Finding an adviser that is right for you can take some time, and likely a few meetings.

But research published last week showed that more than two-in-five consumers are not even sure how to find face-to-face advice.

The worrying data – published by adviser network Openwork – made clear that women find this more of a challenge than men.

Of the more than 1,000 participants, almost two-thirds of the women surveyed said they were not sure where to find advice, compared to just 38 per cent of men.

For many of us in the industry, this might seem hard to believe.

Simply entering ‘financial advice’ into Google gives me a whopping 1.15bn results in just over half a second. So how can finding advice be that hard, right?

Well, perhaps this result is the key to understanding the problem.

The information overload can be a big issue, so maybe we should be educating people about how they can find the right advice, or a good adviser.

For far too many people, finding financial information involves heading to the sources they already know, even if they do not really trust them.

The banks, for example, have not got a good reputation if you speak to the man on the street.

Yet, when you ask them where they go for financial products, many will just say their existing bank.

So, what gives? Is it laziness? Can we really not be bothered to search out someone who will work with us as an independent authority to help us plan properly for our future?

Many people will take financial advice from their friends or family more readily than a fully qualified, highly trained adviser, who also happens to be a stranger.

Ironically, they trust their often ill-informed, non-financially educated – or in some cases not even financially savvy – friends over and above someone who has spent years training to help them make the most of their money.

It could be the legacy of mis-selling scandals or that their friends are more inclined to help them than someone they do not actually know. But you have to ask yourself why that is.

Do financial advisers have an image problem? Do people prefer to talk to robots than to human beings? Handily, the survey answered that one too, and it is clear robo-advice is unlikely to be where the future for financial advice lies.

If advisers are suffering from mis-selling legacies, surely it is less on people’s minds than the banks that caused the credit crisis. Yet people still choose this as a ‘go to’ strategy for financial information.

It is a strange thing to do when you consider how badly the banks generally treat their customers, and for the most part people do not trust bankers. But perhaps people are forgetting about this now as more than a decade has passed since it started.