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Muted interest in advice during pandemic

Muted interest in advice during pandemic
 Credit: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The pandemic has made people more engaged with their personal finances but just one in seven relied more on financial advice highlighting a more independent approach to finances, according to research from Netwealth.

A February survey of 2,000 adults aged 35-plus found two in five (41 per cent) said they were more engaged with their personal finances throughout the pandemic than in previous years.

But the research also found only 15 per cent said they relied more on a financial adviser or wealth manager during the pandemic compared with previous years.

According to Netwealth, this suggested that many had adopted an independent approach to their personal finances.

Charlotte Ransom, chief executive officer of Netwealth, said: “The pandemic has had an impact on the finances of most across the UK, so it is surprising to see such low levels of engagement with financial advisers and wealth managers who can provide much-needed support in navigating significant pressures during this complex period.”

Of those who did seek advice, the research found younger respondents were more likely to rely on an adviser over the past 12 months.

Three in 10 (27 per cent) of those aged 35 to 44 sought financial advice, compared to 5 per cent of those aged 65-plus, which could be attributed to the disproportionate financial effect of the pandemic on younger cohorts, Netwealth said.

The wealth manager also warned of growing financial divides, after finding a quarter of those with experience of investing relied more on an adviser during the pandemic, compared to 7 per cent of those who had not invested in the past.

It also found that men were more reliant on advice during the pandemic (18 per cent) than women (12 per cent).

Commenting on the findings, Philip Hanley, director at Philip James Financial Services, said advisers had to “take responsibility”, and that more could be done to improve the industry’s online presence, including through social media.

Likewise Bill Bottomley, communications director at Lifetime Financial, highlighted the importance of online engagement, but commented that advisers had insufficient resources to address the advice gap.

Bottomley said: “We talk about an adviser gap that needs bridging but the reality is that most advisers haven’t got the resources to be involved in the solution.

“Better education, from school age and access to planning online will be key to increased participation by a greater number of the public.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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