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Subscription models of financial advice emerge

Subscription models of financial advice emerge

Subscription models of financial advice are emerging in the US, the Personal Finance Society's conference heard yesterday (November 22).

Financial planning business consultant Brett Davidson said this was part of a growing trend of companies turning to subscription and membership models.

He cited the example of Dollar Shave Club, an American company that allows people to sign up and pay a monthly fee to have razor blades sent to them on a regular basis.

Mr Davidson said the concept of charging on the basis of assets under management had come in for criticism lately, but he pointed out that many high quality advice firms still used this model, which suggested it wasn't inherently flawed.

He said: "Around 80 per cent of consumers are demanding alternatives to buying something outright, including things like subscription models and sharing.

"These companies have turned a product into a service."

One of the American examples he cited was Grove Financial Planning, which charges its members $600 (£466) a year, which includes a personalised investment portfolio and a review with an adviser every three months.

But Mr Davidson said: "When you get a little bit deeper into these models, the subscription is the starting point but if you want extras it is going to cost and you are going to pay hourly rates and flat fees."

He said it would be perfectly plausible for a financial adviser to earn a decent revenue from a subscription model.

But Mr Davidson said: "If you were starting today, you could make some version of that work.

"For me it has never been about the price, it has always been about the value. If I look at the robo-advisers, for me it is not that cheap if you look at what you get.

"We could be better at letting clients know where we add value. How you charge for what you do - I don't think that is a real issue."

damian.fantato@ft.com