Advisers are still the go to destination for solid financial advice, according to the latest information released by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) in conjunction with YouGov.
Intermediaries outrank high street banks as the relied upon source for significant financial decisions with 41 per cent of the public stating that they would prefer the advice of a professional financial adviser, but only 7 per cent saying that they would “trust” their high street retail bank.
These findings were released to coincide with CISI’s annual Financial Planning Week, which concluded on 12 May.
The survey conducted by YouGov amongst 2,056 adults last October posed the question “in seeking financial advice, who would you trust more?”
Even though advisers scored highly in the public confidence stakes, surprisingly 26 per cent those surveyed said that they would trust no-one else but themselves, despite not being professionally qualified in the finance sector.
Just over one fifth of respondents (22 per cent) even said they would trust a good friend or relative with important financial decisions while only one per cent said they would take the advice of the media when considering investments.
Jacqueline Lockie, deputy head of financial planning at the CISI, said: “There seems to be a need for consumers to source some sort of register of highly qualified advisers.
“We must go the extra mile to help consumers navigate this complexity and make it easier for them to both trust and seek financial help.”
Helen Howcroft, managing director at Islington-based IFA Equinimity, said that she thinks that it's time the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) upped its game to promote intermediaries as the professional industry it should be seen as.
She said: “I don’t think that the FCA represent financial advisers at all in their role, and I think there is a big educational piece that needs to be created on how professional the industry is.
“You walk into a networking event and you say you’re a financial adviser and then you have to spend the rest of the time trying to show then that you are actually a professional and that you have been in this job for a very long time, you charge fees for doing the work and you’re actually very good at what you do.
"And the FCA is not doing anything to clarify this, and they should be, to give the public confidence to seek independent financial advice.”
Michelle Lawson, director at Fareham-based Lawson Financial, said: “I think it’s the comparison sites that have created this, because they tend to make people think they can handle the financial side of things themselves, it’s as simple as putting your details in and getting a magic answer, which it isn’t.
“I think that it’s more important now than ever that a client does have advice. Simply, there could easily be people out there who are missing out, who might have gone to their bank and been told ‘sorry’, but if they can’t do it, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done as a whole with other providers.”