Small but mighty
Despite the voraciousness of St James’s Place, a handful of consolidations and the threat of the new Lloyds and Schroders partnership, things do seem rosy for the smaller independent advice companies.
Five years ago, we all assumed that the smaller adviser would go to the wall because of the rising cost of red tape and the financial punching power of the big networks.
Regulation continues to add costs, and there is still an enormous gap in the market to find an advice solution for those on lower incomes.
But the race to quality – whether it is turning to farmer’s markets and artisan producers instead of supermarkets, or buying better made technology over cheaper products – has helped local advisers.
The number of people seeking financial advice in 2018 was almost 1m more than in 2017.
People want a unique, individual experience, and they also want transparency and honesty.
And that is why, despite adverse market conditions, smaller advisers can thrive.
Plus, the constant negativity highlighting the dangers of the pension freedoms plays into the hands of advisers who can offer some comfort for those seeking an income in retirement. Quality will prevail.
It was rightly treated as good news that accountancy giant Deloitte unveiled extended paternity leave, boosting the current allowance from two weeks to four weeks.
But then it fell victim to the politically correct brigade, announcing the doubling of weeks for ‘non-birthing parents’. Commonly known, as the press release went on to say, as paternity leave.
I understand why they may want to steer clear of paternity leave, but why not ‘parental leave’?
I cannot think how I am going to explain to my sons that I am not a dad any more, but a non-birthing parent.
James Coney is money editor of the Sunday Times