Brits still reluctant to seek financial advice

By Peter Wilson
April 26, 2021
(IFA Magazine)

 

While the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s finances, only 15% of Brits have relied more on a financial adviser or wealth manager over the last 12 months in comparison to previous years, as revealed by new research from wealth manager Netwealth.

Charlotte Ransom, CEO of Netwealth, commented, “The pandemic has had an impact on the finances of most across the UK, so it is surprising to see such low levels of engagement with financial advisers and wealth managers who can provide much-needed support in navigating significant pressures during this complex period.”

Considering 41% of adults aged 35 and over have been more worried about their finances in the latest lockdown compared to the first, the proportion of those relying on expert advice is relatively low.

Notably, 25% of those with prior investment experience relied more on an adviser during this period, compared to just 7% of those who haven’t invested in the past. This raises concerns that the financial divide between these cohorts is set to worsen, with experienced investors benefiting from expert guidance while those who aren’t using the available support fall further behind.

Men were also more inclined to leverage adviser support throughout this time compared to their female counterparts, with 18% relying on expert advice in comparison to 12% of women, further exacerbating the growing financial inequalities between genders.

Ransom continued, “The financial difficulties of women in particular have been exacerbated throughout the pandemic, increasing an already significant gap when compared to their male counterparts.”

While older cohorts have traditionally relied more on IFAs in comparison to their younger peers, the findings revealed that over the past 12 months specifically, those aged 35-44 were more likely to rely on an adviser, with 27% seeking financial advice compared to only 5% of those aged 65+. This could be attributed to the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on the finances of younger cohorts, triggering an unprecedented shift in their responses and financial attitudes.

 

Percentage of those who have relied on a financial adviser/wealth manager more during the pandemic in comparison to previous years:

 

Taking a more independent approach

Despite the lack of engagement with advisers, 41% of 35+ year olds have been more engaged with their personal finances throughout the pandemic, including reassessing the value of existing products and providers and potentially switching.

An additional 24% made changes to their retirement plan over the last 12 months, suggesting that many have been making significant long-term decisions independently, without seeking expert advice despite the complex financial environment.

 

Charlotte Ransom, CEO of Netwealth, commented, “While many may be focused on the immediate impact of the pandemic, people need to think about the longer-term implications – before it is too late. Overcoming the block that many may have towards seeking advice will be a key challenge for the industry to overcome. Encouraging people to take their financial futures into their own hands and set up a flexible life plan to help achieve their goals will be vital to ensure people come out of the pandemic stronger and more financially resilient than before.”

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