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FCA finds third of adults need advice but don't access it

FCA finds third of adults need advice but don't access it

A third of the UK population might have needed advice in the past 12 months but didn't access it, according to a survey carried out for the Financial Conduct Authority.

Overall, nine in 10 UK adults aged 18 and above - or 46.5 million people - did not take regulated financial advice in the past 12 months.

Of these people, two-fifths - or 18.2 million - had £10,000 or more in savings or investments and so might have had a need for advice, the survey found. This was a group equating to 36 per cent of the UK population as a whole.

According to the survey, many of the people with savings or investments of £10,000 or more felt they did not need advice, with 50 per cent giving this as the reason for not seeing an adviser.

Almost two-fifths - 37 per cent - felt able to decide what to do with their money on their own, which, the survey found, reflected their propensity for keeping the majority of their money in simple, cash-based savings products, about which they felt knowledgeable and confident.

Just one in seven - 15 per cent - of those who might need financial advice mentioned affordability as the main barrier to accessing it.

The survey's report said: "From our in-depth conversations we learned that, while the absolute cost of advice plays a part in that barrier, [these] adults are more concerned about whether they are getting value for money for the price they pay and whether the adviser is acting in their best interests."

In total, 4.5 million adults received regulated financial advice in the past 12 months, up by a "statistically significant" 6 per cent from 3.2 million in 2017.

The type of people accessing financial advice were not materially different in 2018 from 2017 – more men received advice than women, and the propensity to do so increased "markedly" with age, wealth and education levels.

Those who have had regulated financial advice in the past 12 months were generally satisfied with the quality of the service they received and the price they paid, and there was little shopping around.

Nine in 10 of those who had regulated financial advice in both 2017 and 2018 always used the same firm for all of their advice needs, and only a very small proportion - 9 per cent - had changed firm in the past 12 months.

Two-thirds - 66 per cent - of all advised adults in 2018 said they did not compare two or more different advisers or firms by looking at the services and rates offered before using their adviser.

But the report warned that the lack of shopping around did not mean clients were necessarily satisfied with the service they were getting: in both 2017 and 2018 about half of those who received advice said they were highly satisfied with the service they received, about two-fifths were moderately satisfied, and a small minority were dissatisfied -12 per cent.

damian.fantato@ft.com