Opinion  

How much is too much when it comes to advice?

Simon Read

Simon Read

According to the Charles Stanley survey, only 29 per cent of advisers recognise that clients want them to understand their personal situation, whether that be family life, employment status, or day-to-day struggles.

That figure seems quite alarming to me as it suggests that almost seven out of 20 advisers do not recognise that need.

My view has always been that financial advisers do have a responsibility to offer rounded guidance to their clients, recognising that many may have no one else they trust to turn to.

Trust

It’s that element of trust that’s the bottom line. 

If advisers want clients to trust them then there needs to be a decent relationship that includes chatting about other issues that may be of concern to them.

Indeed, I would go further and suggest it is essential to discuss these other issues – such as family or work worries – as they obviously can have a major impact on someone’s finances.

While it may not be wise to dispense career advice, for instance, it does seem sensible to discuss possible career changes, as a move could lead to an income reduction, which would have a major impact on future financial plans.

Talking through lifestyle plans seems essential if advisers really are going to help clients make the best of the finances and future years.

Should there be a line drawn covering the areas that should be discussed? I don’t think so. Understanding clients’ concerns about every aspect of their life must make sense when helping them out.

So counselling them on family issues or parking fines or whatever else it may be, should not be off limits.

The research also suggests that clients now wish to meet more frequently and have more contact time with their advisers. 

That includes wanting more contact outside of traditional working hours and an increased demand for face-to-face contact.

Rather than viewing that as a problem, advisers should see it as an opportunity.

Ultimately that extra time spent with a client in the short term problem solving with them should lead to greater satisfaction over the long term. 

And that should be a result that will be pleasing to all parties.

Simon Read is a freelance journalist