Why do so many advisers hide their Chartered status?


If things don’t change soon my full head of hair will soon be no more. Not, because of impending middle age, my father still has a full head of hair well into his 60s. But because every time I see a financial planner fail to promote their Chartered status, I pull out a handful in...

Vertical integration; the myth is finally being exposed


If there’s one thing guaranteed to get me on my soap box, it’s the prevalence of vertical integration in financial services. There’s no doubt that it is polarising the profession and, in my view, skewing client outcomes. I am therefore delighted that the FCA is proposing action on the subject. The RDR ‘loophole’ Let’s cast...

Pension freedoms offers flexibility, but also increase consumer choices


For those in or reaching retirement, deciding what to do and when to do it isn’t easy. Pension freedoms offers fantastic choice and flexibility, but it also increases the number of options and choices people need to consider. Add in the uncertainty of how long they will live, whether they will need long-term care, the...

Hybrid Cars use more than one power source, so how do Hybrid Retirement Products compare?


Mention the word ‘hybrid’ to most people and images of the latest Toyota Prius gliding silently through city streets floats through their heads. Cost effective, good for the environment, versatile and efficient are all terms that might be used to describe these vehicles – or at least they are if you read the marketing literature.

So when the retirement industry – a sector which is not necessarily renowned for its plain speaking – was searching for a term to describe the new breed of retirement income products, it was perhaps fate that they should also be called hybrid. Yes, hybrid products – not blended solutions – as they are very different answers to the same question.

Residence nil rate band – the devil is in the detail!


Rising IHT receipts

For many years now the number of estates paying inheritance tax (IHT) has been steadily rising, culminating in the highest-ever annual and monthly IHT receipts of £3.8bn in 2014-15(1) and £446m in July 2015(2).

With the number of estates forecast to pay IHT set to increase to 1 in 10 by 2018-19(3), the Government has been promising to do something for a while (over 5 years to be exact!).

Robo Advice: The emperor’s new clothes?


The hot topic of the year has to be ‘Robo Advice’, hardly a day goes by without a new launch and I’ve rarely seen a topic which has so polarised opinion.

I’m all for propositions which efficiently deliver high quality advice to victims of the ‘advice gap’. Having said that, I have my doubts whether some of the recent ‘robo’ launches will ever gain the critical mass needed to become profitable. Indeed, a report earlier this month showed that the cost of a ‘Robo Adviser’ acquiring a customer could be as high as £200; that’s a lot of money when the margins are wafer thin.

Making the pension pot last a lifetime


Pension freedoms are exciting. People now have the potential for using their pension pot to draw down money as and when they need it. But with the new freedoms come new responsibilities.

Over six months in, and the evidence is that far more people than before are plumping for drawdown to provide a retirement income. But only two years ago, many would have been cautioned against drawdown, as the risky option. In our brand new pension freedom world, the risks haven’t really changed. Anyone wanting drawdown to provide them with an income in retirement has to deal with the challenges of drawing too little money, and therefore not using the pot to its fullest potential; or drawing too much and running out of pension pot way before death. Given the average life expectancy is increasing, this can be a big ask.

What the dividend tax means for you and your clients


Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few weeks you’ll probably have heard about the changes to dividend tax.

But do you know how it’s going to affect you and your clients?

If I’m wrong, and you haven’t heard about it, don’t beat yourself up, the Government hid it well in the Summer Budget.

So what is it all about?

5 key steps to create a great client experience


What makes a great client experience? ‘Nothing fancy’ would be my answer. All you need to do well to create a great client experience in our profession are the basics. So what are they?

1. First contact

When a new client contacts your business via telephone or email, you respond quickly. In today’s online world, a slow response is poor (unless you’re the only game in town – which most of us are not).

How do your team answer the phone? Do they sound pleasant? Do they take good messages? Are they helpful even if it’s someone else in the business who the prospect should be speaking to?

The two things you must do at every review meeting


To ensure a successful review meeting, there really are only two things you have to do:

  1. ‘Show’ the client that everything’s going to be alright (and if it’s not going to be alright, tell them what needs to be done about it)
  2. Politely remind the client what you’ve done for them lately (show them your value)

This is pretty simple stuff, but it’s important to ask yourself the question: