The financial advice industry has been suffering with image problems for a while and data shows that it needs to make a change.
The newly established financial planning joint venture of Lloyds and Schroders surveyed 1,000 people aged 18-65 to capture their thoughts and attitudes to advice.
It found over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed said they would feel uncomfortable seeing a financial adviser.
Some 21% would rather visit a dentist than speak to one.
Raise the profile
“The research shows that there is more we all need to do to raise the profile of the value of expert financial advice to promote its benefit and address some of the misconceptions of the profession which have constituted barriers to engagement for all,” Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, told International Adviser.
“Whilst the research was UK focussed, as an international professional body for the financial planning sector, it is fair to say the statistics ring true across the globe.
“But advisers have the power to change lives, and collectively, the profession has the power to shape the future.”
Shake off sales image
Jason Porter, business development director at Blevins Franks, told IA: “Financial advice needs to continue to work at shaking off the image of sales rather than advice.
“The moves over the past decade or so around fees, raising education standards, etc., have been important, but many of the general public still see the role of a financial adviser as akin to that of an estate agent or double-glazing salesman.
“This lack of understanding, and in realising the importance of financial advice are why many do not voluntarily contact a financial adviser.”
However, the Schroders Personal Wealth survey also found despite not feeling the urge to see an IFA, 62% of people think about money every day.
Some 43% said they think about it multiple times a day.
Furthermore, 62% admit to arguing with their spouse or partner about money at some point every month.
Only one-in-10 (13%) said they never plan for their financial future.
Franks added: “Fundamentally, this is all to do with a lack of financial education – preparing for your financial future is not given sufficient education airtime in the UK.
“In most cases, the point in time you realise you have not prepared sufficiently enough for your financial future, is too late to actually resolve it.”
Schroders Personal Wealth’s survey was released during the firm’s “Wealth is Personal” campaign to challenge people’s perception of financial planning with the aim of helping to bring this to more people in the UK.
To address this growing need, Schroders Personal Wealth aims to be a top three UK financial planning business within five years.
Peter Hetherington, chief executive at Schroders Personal Wealth, said: “We believe that professional financial advice helps generate value. Through personal financial plans, we aim to make a positive difference to the lives of our clients and their families.
“The campaign is designed to challenge people’s perceptions about speaking to an adviser, to help us bring it to more people in the UK and to empower conversations with our clients.
“We want to make financial planning more accessible and bring it to more people in the UK.”