As alternative financial planners, Lifetime put clients at the centre of our services rather than their money.
We get to know a client and discover what’s important to them.
Vitally, our starting point is their story.
That is why we are confident that our client base will continue to grow, despite the latest research into ‘retirement market behaviours’, which suggests that consumers think independent financial advisers are too expensive and cannot be trusted.
The foundation of our financial management business has always been the relationships we have had with our clients. Lifetime has been built upon their loyalty and the level of service we have been able to provide. We have grown and continue to do so through the recommendations and referrals we receive from them, and this has helped us to remain profitable and so able to improve our services to all our clients.
Yet a report (published on Thursday, December 11) on consumer behaviours around retirement decision making, commissioned by the FCA as part of its ‘retirement income thematic review’, found that a good number of consumers are unwilling to pay fees for advice and do not think advisers have their best interests at heart.
The report, by Ignition House, said consumers had no way of comparing the quality of one adviser to another or telling whether the advice they had received was good quality or not.
It went on: “Pre-retirement respondents without an IFA commonly reported a strong mistrust of financial advisers based on poor past experience. Some respondents were under the impression that IFAs are paid by commission and felt that IFAs might not always work in their best interests.
‘They were surprised to hear that pension advice in the post retail distribution review environment would-be paid for through an expect fee and that this could cost them excess of £1,000. Knowing this reinforced their thinking that it is their responsibility to found out about their ‘at retirement’ choices.”
The report also suggested that consumers do not know where to go for trusted advice.
On reading the varying stories arising from the research, Lifetime’s Communications Director William Bottomley reflected: “All these issues raised in the report are as a result of product flogging instead of placing any advice given within the context of how the client wants to live their life going forward and whether or not they are able to achieve this.
“If the client has had the benefit of true financial planning and is able to see why they are being recommended a particular course of action, they no longer question the integrity of the adviser or the fees they have to pay for the process and the adviser’s knowledge.
“The key is that the client can see the value they are getting through the process the adviser uses and that the relationship established is ongoing rather than something that happens only at one particular point in the client’s life.
“At Lifetime we rarely have trust issues because we concentrate on the client’s story and how we can enhance or help deliver their requirements rather than concentrating on the products we are able to sell.