‘Soft skills’ are nothing to do with furnishings or upholstery, but in management/training speak, the ability to talk to and understand people. Why do financial advisers need these more than, say, solicitors or accountants, whose business and fee models our regulator often seems to wish we’d emulate? Well, if you ask for help from an accountant or solicitor it’s usually because you have to. You have to pay tax, submit accounts if you run a business or be conveyanced if you’re buying a house. You don’t have to invest or save, you can leave your money in the bank or under the proverbial mattress. Life and critical illness insurance are a good idea but not compulsory. And pensions can be messy, but there are plenty of websites which will let you DIY consolidate them. The parts of what we do for which you’re required to take advice, transferring final salary pensions, for instance, are so heavily regulated that most of us can’t or won’t do them anyway. So we have to persuade you, by understanding your situation, that what we actually do might be worth paying for. It is, but you probably wouldn’t realise that if it weren’t for our soft skills. And sorry, accountants and solicitors, many of you don’t have them. Those that do get plenty of client referrals from the likes of me!
“Financial advice provides £47,000 wealth uplift in a decade”
After a meeting of financial advisers this week, a younger member of my team asked me if I thought there were actually too many financial advisers. ‘How can there be?’, was my first reaction, ’there were over 100,000 of us in the ‘90s, now there are only around 25,000.