Stop the petty battles on the word 'advice' and focus on quality

James Coney

James Coney

Luckily there is a way to reclaim this, and it is not through petty battles over semantics; it is with a flight to quality.

Instead of talking down to people, seek to engage in discussions about asset prices, diversification and retirement planning. They welcome it. You win by wider education, not by pretending everyone else is too underqualified or stupid to have an opinion.

The advisers who really get this right talk openly about the work they do for clients: the tax planning, the asset allocation, and, yes, their fees.

It is not showing off; it is just a demonstration of a skillset that no one else can replicate. 

You benefit through the quality, and through the outcomes and value you show. Forget petty battles over the word ‘advice’ and focus on the more complicated message of retirement outcomes. That is a battle you can win.

US predictions

The stock market has been remarkably good at predicting the US election. The S&P 500 has been right in every race since 1984, and only got it wrong three times since Herbert Hoover’s victory in 1928.

The rule is that if the market rises in the final three months of the campaign, then the incumbent party stays in power – so at the moment it is pointing to a Trump victory.

But the question this time round is whether the market has actually priced in a Biden victory and the expectation of further financial support for the economy.

We will soon find out.

Returns for retirement

A brilliant interview by Josephine Cumbo in the Financial Times with Australia’s Superannuation minister Jane Hume. It reveals Ms Hume’s views that it is not the job of a pension fund to change the climate or produce jobs, but rather to generate good retirement outcomes.

I will raise a tinnie to that. Of course, pension funds can do both, but this worthy push in the UK at the moment to environmental issues distracts from the real issue of returns.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times