Neil Moles, CEO of Progeny, recently spoke in the media about how the financial advice industry needs to collaborate to increase education and access to financial advice and tackle negative public perceptions of the profession.
Neil was speaking to the FT Adviser website about the findings of the Open Money UK Advice Gap 2020 report, which aims to deliver insight into the financial lives of people of all ages and levels of wealth.
Addressing the challenges and the opportunities facing the industry, as well as the reasons to be optimistic, Neil said:
“These findings should be a wake-up call for any financial advice firm that is genuinely serious about the future of our industry. We regularly talk about nurturing the next generation of advisers, but it’s clear we need to put equal focus on reaching out to the next generation of clients.
“The fact that one of the chief concerns about financial advice is its cost simply means we’re not doing a good enough job of demonstrating the benefits. It’s up to us to show how a good financial plan can deliver life-changing results – financially and emotionally – not just for the individual but for future generations of their family.
“Over-complication is still rife. Creating complexity around financial advice doesn’t impress people, it just alienates them and, therefore, huge swathes of potential clients we could otherwise help. We should be focusing on ways to foster understanding and increase access to financial advice, not baffle people with technical terms or exclude them from a private club for those in the know.
“There is clearly much work to be done but there are reasons to be optimistic and positive about the future. Education and technology will play a huge part in helping us bridge the advice gap in the years ahead.
“Technology gives us the potential to democratise advice to broader sections of the population. Communicating digitally and delivering advice virtually changes what’s possible and allows us to develop more cost-effective products tailored for new markets and fresh client demographics. The once dominant factors of time, geographical location and size of the client are now far less relevant than they have ever been, so access to advice should only increase.
“On education, many of the people who would benefit hugely from advice don’t know they need it, how they would benefit from it or how to go about getting it. How do we change that? This is one of the greatest challenges currently facing our industry and it is our responsibility to solve it. Now is a time for radical thinking and new solutions.
“To achieve this, more collaboration, as an industry, will be crucial. Not only is the competitive, salesy approach a turn-off for clients, but we can accomplish so much more if we work together. Any wholesale change in public perception will demand a united effort from all of us across the advice industry.”