Restricted advice – does it ever benefit the client?

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Over the past weeks my thoughts have returned to the independent v restricted debate. I’m not alone either, it currently seems to be a favourite topic for a number of “thought leaders” in the advice profession.

I must confess to being conflicted by the whole debate. On the one hand, I do understand that RDR has profoundly altered the availability of advice. And, if restricted, simplified or ‘Robo’ advice can help people to build wealth and security in their lives, this must be a positive thing.

The dirty dozen: 12 signs your website needs updating

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As the foundation for a successful marketing strategy, I firmly believe every advisory firm should have a website. But, once it has been built, too many advisers gleefully tick it off their to do list and then promptly forget about it. That’s a mistake. The design of your website probably has a shelf life of...

Unbiased: Location Plus, have I changed my mind? Am I now a fan?

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been a vocal critic of Unbiased’s new Location Plus feature.

I won’t reiterate the reasons why I dislike Location Plus, if you want to understand my views you can read my original article by clicking here and my thoughts in FT Adviser, here. However, I would add that I’ve only been so vociferous because I have genuine respect for Unbiased and believe it provides a valuable service to both consumers and advisers.

Following a couple of weeks of Twitter debate, myself and Unbiased, in the form of the highly impressive Michael Ossei, recently got our heads together to try to better understand each other’s point of view.

How to make successful clients

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What is financial advice?

I’ve been troubled by this question for many years now. What do clients get from what we do?

Some of the answers are obvious. Navigation through complicated pensions and tax rules. Use of the most efficient and cost effective products. But that’s like saying ‘Having a car enables me to drive’. What do people really value about having an adviser?

The 7 most commonly asked questions by new-start IFA practices

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During the past year over 80% of the firms joining Sense have been new start businesses.

I love the fact that entrepreneurially minded advisers are breaking the shackles of their current ‘home’, to set up their own business and create the next generation of advisory practices.

Naturally, I’m also delighted that many are choosing to work with Sense.

I tend to get involved very early in the process and it’s fascinating to observe the adviser’s journey.

Of course, there are some common questions I get asked. So, from the mundane to the more complex, I thought I’d pull them together.

How the Lifetime ISA will replace pensions, in just five easy steps

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Since last July, the pensions industry had been on tenterhooks to find out the Chancellor’s decision about pensions tax relief.

Retaining the status quo seemed unlikely, so the majority of the industry backed the idea of a single rate of tax relief. However, it was widely believed George Osborne’s favoured solution was a pensions ISA – where contributions would be taxed (maybe with a bonus) and the proceeds tax-free. This would, in a single blow, save an enormous amount of money for the Treasury (some suggested £25 billion) – especially if it could figure out a way to apply it to the world of defined benefits.

5 keys to a brilliant business

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Ever get the feeling there could be more for you and your business? I’m pretty sure everyone feels that from time to time.

Here’s the good news: the potential that you can see and feel in the odd quiet moment is real. It exists. It’s not a pipe dream. You can create a business that can be sold for that figure you’ve always had in your head. It’s doable.

However, like a rough diamond buried in the ground, it’s not going to reveal itself without some digging and polishing.

Unbiased.co.uk: A change every adviser and consumer needs to know about

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I’ve long believed that Unbiased and Vouchedfor listings, along with an effective website, should be central to an adviser’s marketing strategy.

I still believe that to be the case, although a change on Unbiased, which will affect both advisers and consumers, troubles me.

Why you must claim your Google My Business listing

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Despite the fact that it controls information about your business available online, an estimated 40% of firms are yet to claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing, according to data available in 2015.

Even if online marketing is not a focus for your firm, claiming a GMB listing is vital for protecting your information, allowing clients to get in touch with you and, if it is a focus, increasing the visibility of your firm online.

Adviser charging, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Over the past few weeks a number of conversations have led me to consider how advisers charge for their services.

The majority of those conversations have been hugely positive, with advisers determined to build a profitable and sustainable business, built on the foundations of value for money and high quality on-going service.

However, a small number of the conversations are potentially extremely worrying, so in reverse order…