Adviser Behaviour 2011October 2011
This study is an annual CoreData Research project and has a specific focus in seeking to understand the attitudes, outlook and behaviour of Britain’s financial advisers.
With a great deal of further change expected in the remaining two-thirds of the year and with so much uncertainty still, from both a regulatory and market dynamics perspective, this report is vital reading for those businesses who exist primarily as a result of the relationship they have with financial advisers.
In summation, the Retail Distribution Review and all the associated transformations from a legislative point of view continue to reshape the landscape that financial advisory practitioners are forced to operate within.
This is compounded against a backdrop of trying economic times – austerity measures, flat growth, rising inflation and a weak currency – as the country attempts to put itself on a more solid footing.
With this in mind, CoreData Research has again undertaken an extensive review of the industry’s financial advice intermediaries to better understand the present and likely future composition of the advice market.
The primary aim of the study is to produce an industry leading assessment of the whole UK advice market, and aims to provide manufacturers with insight as to what they can expect over the next three years from advisers by incorporating all the internal and most of the external factors that influence planner behaviour and actions.
Segmentation of the market is thorough in this study, with attitudes and behaviours sliced and diced across multiple dimensions.
The following are just some of the factors taken into account in dissecting the construct of the UK financial advice market.
- Types of adviser working in the industry
- Duration and longevity of practitioners in the profession
- Business types, and identified by geography, e.g. Single adviser (not part of any network), Single adviser (within a network), 2-3 adviser firm (not part of any network), 2-3 adviser firm (within a network), 4+ adviser firm (not part of any network), 4+ adviser firm (within a network) or a financial services firm (eg bank, estate agency etc).
- The critical issues facing them in their businesses in 2011, e.g. Adverse press and consumer perceptions, attracting new clients, compliance costs and time, managing business growth, servicing clients, succession planning, pressure on fees and margins, staff management, sourcing and retention issues etc.
- The critical issues facing the broader industry in 2011, e.g. Lack of interest in savings and pensions among the public, difficult investment market conditions, competition from banks and direct sellers, regulatory change endangering IFAs as a distribution channel, lack of consumer trust in the financial services industry etc.
- Professional intent over the foreseeable future (2011, 1-2 years and 3-5 years) in terms of where they see themselves, e.g. remaining in present role, transferring to another company, changing role but within another company, leaving the industry altogether etc.
- Perceived strengths as advisers e.g. strategic asset allocation, understanding clients’ risk appetites, fund manager selection and monitoring, explaining investment concepts to clients, analysing the risks and opportunities from new investment concepts and products, portfolio construction in order to meet client risk-return profiles, observing and understanding general investment market conditions, tactical asset allocation etc.
- Income areas, such as, Personal Retirement Planning (SIPPs), personal protection, healthcare, long term care, investment & saving, ISAs/OEICs/unit trusts, investment trusts, taxation planning, offshore investments, ethical investments, stock-broking services, personal stakeholder pension, equity release, traded endowment policies, general insurance, mortgages, saving for children and expatriate services.
- The role of upfront fees, ongoing fees, initial commissions and trail commissions for individual advisers.
- For investment and savings focused advisers, the study reveals the full mix of advice on offer across the market.
- This includes the following product types:
- ISAs, Investment trusts, pensions, unit trusts and Oeics, direct investment in equities, direct investment in fixed income assets, mortgages, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded commodities, discretionary fund management services, real estate investment trusts, SICAVs, limited partnerships, property syndicates, alternative investments (e.g. direct investment in hedge funds, private equity or real estate), distributor influenced funds, structured products, derivative products (e.g. futures, options), buy-to-let property, commercial property, national savings and investment products, child trust funds and corporate bonds.
- Scope advice planners anticipated operating under RDR, e.g. full independent advice, restricted independent advice or tied advice (company specific).
- Adviser first hand expectations of restrictions, if any, in a post-RDR world. e.g. only anticipating offering certain products rather than the whole of the market; or covering most products and areas of advice but with some restrictions on coverage (e.g. excluding ETFs, national savings and investment products, cash deposit ISAs); or an expectation that advice may be restricted due to their remuneration arrangements; or advice being restricted because an adviser only advises on certain products and services (e.g. From one firm or a panel of firms).
- Whether advisers have or plan to attain the required certification levels demanded under RDR in order to be classified as an ‘independent financial adviser’.
- Adviser perception as to what the most important growth areas will be for advice on pensions? For example, the spread of SIPPs to the mass market, the transition-to-retirement and post-retirement market (e.g. advising clients on retirement options at and during retirement), helping clients with their existing pension arrangements, setting up new pensions for clients to start retirement saving, group/employer-based pensions in general – personal accounts, GPPs, advice for senior executives, or the group SIPP market.
- Current adoption rates and usage of platforms, wraps and investment supermarkets.
- Client numbers
- Frequency of engagement
- Business size
- Expectations of income changes in 2011