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Improving access to financial advice

16 August 2019

 

While we focus on the many reasons why people benefit from taking expert, professional advice on aspects such as retirement planning and protection insurance, we also need to look at how exactly people access financial advice in the first place.

According to a June 2019 survey from Openwork, 43% of UK adults don’t know where to turn for financial advice, 26% haven’t started saving for retirement and 42% don’t even plan to start creating a provision until they are 55 or older.

Accessibility to face-to-face financial advice should be a given and not a luxury; with the same survey showing that many people are worried about if and how they will be able to finance their retirement, there is a clearly defined gap between what people need and want, and what they feel able to access.

Talking about money

As well as ensuring that financial advice is readily available to those in need, there is also another barrier that needs to be broken down : the taboo of talking about money.

Keeping financial concerns quiet has an obvious negative effect on wellbeing.

Figures from the Money and Mental Policy Institute show that 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health issue. Financial struggles are bound to grow more serious if left unattended; investing into advice makes sense for our financial and mental health, and talking about it with an expert can offer significant reassurance.

The right adviser will use cashflow forecasting and holistic financial planning to break down seemingly huge issues, helping clients to manage both their finances and stress.

Human touch vs. artificial intelligence

It’s also worth exploring the role of ‘robo-advisers’ in financial planning. The term refers to software platforms offering advice and investment management online with minimal human intervention. Predominantly based on algorithms, they provide clients with a portfolio based on key information they must input, including attitude to risk and goals. Robo-advisers may appeal especially to clients looking for lower-cost alternatives, digitally savvy people and those with very straightforward financial planning needs.

By contrast, face-to-face or phone advice gives far more scope for the adviser to ask probing questions and make informed investment recommendations while fully outlining the level of risk involved.

Tech experts have pointed out that robo-advice based entirely on artificial intelligence can never be fully regulated because it is impossible to track the decision process. With lack of confidence one of the key reasons many people resist taking advice, this reinforces the value of meeting an adviser face to face: building a relationship where you can easily express your concerns.

The cost of advice

Fears about the cost of advice may also put people off, especially people with smaller amounts to invest. Face-to-face advice is far more flexible in terms of how your money is handled. Many ‘robo-platforms’ cannot or will not release your money fast enough, giving you less control.

A strong team of financial advisers can find the right balance between human and tech elements. By automating our processes where practical and making the best use of new technology, it’s possible to offer a service that will also appeal to people who may otherwise feel pressured to resort to robo-advice.

Setting up a buffer

As access to financial advice continues to improve, it becomes ever more important to seek it at your earliest opportunity. Otherwise, the burden of financial strain could leave you vulnerable in the case of illness, redundancy, bereavement or any other lifechanging event. The cashflow forecasting and expert insights you will receive from a qualified adviser will give you control and help you plan for the unexpected.

For more information or help from one of our wealth management specialists, please contact us using our enquiry form.

 

The information contained within this communication does not constitute financial advice and is provided for general information purposes only. BKL Wealth Management shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the content of this communication.

All wealth management advice will be provided by our affiliated FCA registered company BKL Wealth Management Limited.

BKL Wealth Management Limited is an appointed representative of Vintage Wealth Management Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA number 593380.