A recent survey from Aegon UK suggested that consumers believe they need an investment or pension pot valued at around £120,000 before they will seek out Independent Financial Advice.
At the same time, we are hearing increasing reports of wealth managers and financial advisers believing they should only serve people with significant net worth – over £250,000 to invest – and effectively dismissing clients with assets below that figure.
These beliefs have helped create what has come to be called the ‘Advice Gap’, where people think they cannot afford or do not have sufficient wealth to deserve proper advice. Whilst, of course, we at Lowes have a vested interest bias, we can say from our experience that the figure at which good, solid Independent Financial Advice can start helping people is much lower than £120,000.
What has been forgotten in this type of survey and by these advisers, is that while everyone starts at different levels of wealth, as our wealth grows so does our need to manage and protect it. Every Financial Adviser has aspirations to look after millionaires and indeed, at Lowes we do, but not all of them were millionaires when they came to us originally. From our earliest beginnings, over 45 years ago, Lowes has helped people from all walks of life to build and protect their wealth because we recognise that someone’s position today is not necessarily where they will be in 10 years time.
The vast majority of our clients are people in or approaching retirement that are building or have accumulated investment and pension pots and want help to manage their wealth into and through retirement and for their next generation.
And here’s another thing. I would suggest that, in general, those who use the services of an Independent Financial Adviser are far more likely to build up and surpass the £120,000 figure sooner than people who don’t.
The savings and investment landscape is complex – more so since the introduction of the pension freedoms – and failure to get the right guidance at the right time can be very costly. For example, the difference between taking advantage of all savings incentives on offer compared to only investing in non-taxed relieved investments, over the long term, could represent the doubling of an individual’s funds available at retirement.
Holistic financial planning is not just a matter of choosing investments but rather requires that the whole picture be looked at, paying particular attention to taxation of returns and how various solutions can interact more positively for the investor.
We’re unlikely to be able to turn £50,000 into £1million as we’re not big risk takers in our investment strategies but we know from years of experience that, over time, we can successfully help build and retain wealth for our clients and their families. Our focus is on helping our clients over the long-term. In return, many of you refer us to family, friends and colleagues making it a worthwhile relationship for all concerned.