The future of advice is face-to-face…and online
It was reported today that Standard Life is cutting jobs in its Private Client Division, a move which signals the end of their delivery of face-to-face financial advice to clients.
We have already seen a move this year by Barclays to close their retail financial advice arm with the loss of 1,000 jobs. What does this tell us about the future of financial advice?
Some commentators have already suggested that the cost of regulation means that it will no longer be possible to deliver face-to-face financial advice to many consumers in the future.
There is no doubt that the cost of advice delivery is increasing as the world of investments become more complex and the regulatory burden increases. This is particularly true when looking at the cost of delivering independent financial advice.
That said, face-to-face advice can remain both commercially viable and good value for money when it is focused on those who stand to gain the most from the service.
This typically means that those with assets to invest or manage can benefit from professional independent financial advice. Those who are accumulating investment assets for the future, particularly those who are higher earners, can also continue to find good value in the new world of financial advice.
In our experience, people value the ability to meet with their financial adviser and spend time looking in depth at their personal financial planning.
Whilst it is possible to deliver exactly the same service over a telephone or online, the experience is bound to differ. For this reason, we believe that the future of financial advice is face-to-face.
We also believe that the future is online.
There will always be investors where the costs of receiving face-to-face advice do not add up from a value perspective. There are also those who are perfectly capable of managing their personal finances and making their own investment decisions.
Investors in this group may still need the expertise of an independent financial adviser, but for commercial reasons the delivery mechanism will need to differ.
Here at Informed Choice we are committed to the delivery of valuable independent financial advice on a face-to-face basis with our clients.
We are also working hard to develop a series of online tools which will guide and assist those investors who find our traditional services unaffordable or not representing best value based on their personal circumstances.
The first of these tools, along with a supporting website, is being developed right now and we look forward to bringing you more information about this during the summer months.
Photo credit: Flickr/DaveFayram