Opinion  

Spreading the word about advice is difficult

Alison Steed

Alison Steed

Retaining the spouses of former clients when the primary client has died is not easy as most advisers will know, with a number of reasons they may use to move on.

Roughly 45 per cent of spouses want to choose their own adviser, according to research from Fidelity, which is understandable. But nearly half of advisers said they had lost a female client’s business because they didn’t want to receive advice any more, while two in five said they had wanted an adviser of a different sex.

To be fair, there isn’t a lot you can do about that. You either fit the bill or you don’t.

However, this research does beg the question as to why, despite all the efforts of the industry and the regulator to make changes so people see advisers as more professional, do people still feel they can do better on their own?

One of the things I find most scary is when friends or family tell you they know what they’re doing with their money, refuse to take advice, and then go on to make a hash of their finances that will affect them for years to come.

You can see it happening almost in slow motion like a car crash, yet there is little you can do to help someone who will not listen to a person with more knowledge than themselves.

Some of this relates to trust issues and how comfortable they feel talking about financial affairs with someone who could be a complete stranger, even if they have good knowledge and that person’s financial wellbeing at heart.

Falling for scams

Sadly, many people are so blinded by the insistence they know best, that many of them fall victims to silver-tongued scammers who are ready and willing to take away their life savings.

For example, nearly £31m has been lost to pension scammers since 2017, according to data from the Financial Conduct Authority, with the average scam victim being a man in his 50s. 

It is easy to see why – you’re not only thinking long and hard at that stage about how and when you can retire, you may also be looking at ways of retiring early.

The question is, would someone with a good, qualified adviser fall victim to such a scam? Probably not if they ran it by their adviser before they did anything to compromise their life savings.

So, what can be done? How do we get to a point where people see the value of advice, not just the cost? The difficult part of this is so many ways have already been tried but have failed to meet the challenge.

Too many people think they know what they need to do with money to help them live the most carefree of lives. In reality, many will use it in the wrong way, paying off the wrong bills first, spending unwisely or investing in the wrong things.