Single State Pension: The key changes you need to tell your clients about


For many the State Pension remains an important element of retirement planning. The latest government data shows that in the average pensioner household, 43% of income* comes from state benefits, mainly State Pensions. The State Pension is also changing. For people reaching State Pension age from April 2016, the current Basic State Pension and the...

Pensions and Pringles, what’s the link?


Sometimes I think pensions are the Pringles of the financial world. Now the lid has been popped open (by pensions simplification and all that) the politicians just can’t let them alone. As you know, once you pop, you just can’t stop.

The next 12 months is shaping up to be yet another busy year for pension legislation and regulation. Here are my top five changes to look out for:

How to get found online by clients local to you


In February, I was writing for Sense about the importance of claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Hopefully you’re now not one of the 40% or so of firms who have not claimed their listing and, by virtue of this, you’re giving yourself a boost (around 15%) in the Google rankings for local queries (people typing in ‘financial adviser Swindon’, for example).

Six tips to turn more enquiries into clients


I regularly write about ways to increase the number of enquiries you receive, but that’s only half the job. In fact, it’s probably the easier half, you still need to convert the enquiry into a client.

I’m always intrigued by advisers bemoaning the poor quality of enquiries; that they don’t convert and therefore offer a poor return on investment. Forgive the blunt home truth, but if the quality of the enquiries you receive is poor, the buck stops with you, after all, you run your marketing strategy.

Which leads me nicely to my first tip:

Restricted advice – does it ever benefit the client?


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


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?


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


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


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


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.