Your Industry  

The advisers who played Santa this year

The advisers who played Santa this year
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via Pexels

Santa Claus may be coming to town, but it is the advice industry who has really helped people's dreams come true, whether these dreams related to bulls, snakes or rare bikes.

Despite the turmoil of 2022, from eye-watering inflation to fears over the ongoing war in Ukraine, advisers have helped their clients achieve their ambitions - no matter how odd or tricky the request. 

Many planners and brokers told FTAdviser how clients had asked them about crypto this year (or "telling me crypto is the safest asset in existence", according to one adviser).

Article continues after advert

But there have been some pretty curious requests. 

Dan Elkington, financial planner for MT Financial Management, said: "A bloke had a pension, he also farmed cows - mixed dairy and beef - and wanted to buy a new bull as his old one had died in curious circumstances, so PCLS paid for it.

"Compliance were a pain about it as usual: 'Can't he take a loan?'"

Ian Else, founder of 4 Financial Planning, also had a client with an agricultural bent. 

He said: "I had a client who wanted a vineyard. She wanted to buy some land in Devon and start producing English wine."

He said he advised her that if this was a 'hobby business', then she should go for it, but if she needed to support herself financially with it, then do not do it.

"There was so much initial outlay on the land and equipment for bottling, and so on. But she didn't [need to support herself financially with it], she is passionate about it and she's going ahead with it", he added.

Working with animals and family

Other advisers said they had requests relating to pets or children. Often, people want to take out policies for their new puppies or kittens. 

But a few Christmases ago, Alan Knowles, owner of Cura Financial Services, said he was contacted by a lady who wanted life insurance for her pet snakes.

"She had 50 or more snakes and wanted someone to come look after them and not have to separate/move them."

In this instance, Knowles could not play Santa. He said: "I tried to encourage her to take sickness plans instead as there was a clearer need for this.

Photo: Jessica Lewis via Pexels

"She didn’t take anything out in the end but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable recommending life cover."

Perhaps he should have offered her... wait for it ... Elf Insurance.... 

Another adviser helped a family unlock money from their investment portfolio for their teenage daughter who wanted to transition.

There are, of course, the occasional questions that would stump even the Big Guy himself on Christmas Eve: one adviser was asked about "lost income due to children not being able to go to school and having to take the day off".