by Tony Vidler
We need to get the “Value Of Advice” message out more effectively as it just doesn’t appear to be resonating with enough of the consumers, particularly in challenging times.
There has been an increasing emphasis upon understanding the value of advice in the last decade and most research concludes that advice does indeed create tangible value. It is apparent though that this message is not resonating terribly well beyond the industry itself.
A number of research projects conclusively show that consumers receiving professional financial advice have more financial products; stronger self provision and savings levels; and; have greater financial literacy and awareness. The ultimate test as to whether the financial advisers are making a positive difference is increasingly being proven through research with results such as professionally advised consumers have twice retirement funding levels of the non-advised.
That makes a powerful argument for any consumer contemplating whether they should go it alone or work with a professional financial adviser, and that is consumers generally have more personal security and a greater likelihood of achieving their retirement objectives if they work with a professional independent financial adviser.
This is not an absolute truth or law of the universe of course, but there is already enough research valdiating these conclusions that we can and should be leaning upon them more heavily in our communications with the market. That can become particularly effective if we match the evidence to the triggers that prompt consumers to explore their options in this area.
We know that retirement planning is the single biggest trigger for consumers. Driving them to obtain advice in this area is the need to get help maximizing their entitlements, determining the financial objectives that ensure their retirement is what they want it to be, and then helping them design strategies and plans to give them a greater likelihood of achieving the goals along with managing behavioral change.
Closely correlated is the need for assistance in understanding savings and investments choices and strategies, and then selecting appropriate products. Product complexity (beyond just investment products) is also a key driver in seeking professional assistance. This is perhaps best highlighted by the incidence of consumers holding income protection insurance policies in any number of countries. The penetration rate of a product which can protect casfhlow for an entire working life is ridiculously low in most developed nations.
Product complexity and increasing market and product sophistication are also drivers for seeking financial advice. Overwhelmingly however, consumers are motivated by some fundamental needs-based objectives: they want to live well and wish to be self sufficient if possible.
Marketing based upon “managing money better” will continue to struggle to resonate with many (maybe the majority of) consumers. Marketing centred upon goal achievement will probably resonate with more of them. The really effective way to get the value of advice message resonating however is by focussing the marketing upon the peace of mind and life fulfillment which can be achieved through financial independence, and linking the research-based evidence about how great professional advice enhances the chances of that happening.