Damian Fantato  

Following in SJP’s footsteps

Damian Fantato

Damian Fantato

Leaving a legacy is something advisers usually help their clients with.

Whether it is planning for inheritance tax or making sure the family home is not sold off to pay for social care when other options are available, these services are often invaluable.

But perhaps advisers should sit back and spend a bit more time thinking about their legacy.

Advice companies do not tend to exist for very long, in the grand scheme of things. They are set up by their principal or founder and then, when retirement beckons, they are sold off to one of the many buyers with open arms and wallets.

Much of this is understandable. After all, according to figures from the Financial Conduct Authority, the plurality of companies – 2,466 as of 2018 – are only made up of one adviser.

But there is an argument in favour of thinking differently.For a start, planning for your business to outlast you is a good way of making sure the financial planning profession grows.

But last week it emerged St James’s Place and Schroders Personal Wealth were engaged in a ‘price war’, with the latter seeking to undercut the former.

Pressure on costs at the top end of the market is obviously a good thing, but for the majority of advisers the prices these companies charge are the stuff of fantasy.

One adviser described it as the equivalent of Ferrari and Lamborghini engaging in a price war.

But if the pace of consolidation in the financial advice market continues – or accelerates as many predict – then the chances are that an increasing number of clients will unwittingly find themselves in a Ferrari dealership.

Many advisers rail against the success of companies like SJP, but of course the reason it is successful is that it spends a lot of time worrying about growing its business with the aim of existing long after all its current advisers are in their dotage.

Perhaps this is something advisers can learn from.

damian.fantato@ft.com