Majority of Brits are unaware of the benefits of professional advice

Majority of Brits are unaware of the benefits of professional Financial Planning advice – poll for Financial Planning Week reveals

This poll conducted by YouGov for Financial Planning Week in association with Liontrust, questioned over 2,000 people across Britain, and has produced interesting results. The full results can be found in the table at the foot of this release.

Respondents were asked to think about what they see as the major benefits of using a financial adviser or a financial planner. The results show quite clearly that the benefits of professional advice are a well kept secret to the majority of people.  22% said they don’t know what the benefits might be, and 36% could think of no benefits.

17% thought that a major benefit of an adviser or planner would be that they could research the entire market and recommend the most appropriate investment products. Whilst products such as pensions and ISAs can form part of the planning process, this is not the main focus. Such decisions typically come into the later stages of Financial Planning, once the context and purpose as to what those products are needed to achieve has been established.

The financial world is certainly made more complicated by the jargon that is involved. 13% believe that a major benefit of an adviser is that they could simplify things, as they unravel the complexity of the financial world for them. However, only 11% think that the adviser would help them come up with a long term plan that best suits their needs. Just 8% believe they would get peace of mind that their financial affairs were in order and were being regularly monitored.

When we consider that our survey also found  that 82% of respondents worry about money some, most or all of the time compared to just 60% in 2011*,  and almost two thirds (63%) of respondents say they are struggling to keep up with bills and credit commitments, it’s clear that action is needed to help people make better plans.

To help people to experience for themselves the significant value of professional Financial Planning advice , they are encouraged to take advantage of one of the free financial surgeries being offered by professional financial planners right across the UK as part of Financial Planning Week.

Steve Gazzard CFPCM, CEO of Institute of Financial Planning says: “Although people are clearly worried about their financial situation, they also appear to be confused about how best to plan their finances for the future. It’s a major concern that so many can’t even understand how professional advice might help them.  Those who have taken professional advice and have a comprehensive Financial Plan in place regularly report that the major benefit is that they have ‘peace of mind’ are better organised and more confident when it comes to their money. It’s not just about getting a decent return on your money, it’s about knowing that no matter what life or the economy throws at you, you’ve got a plan in place to deal with it and keep you on track to achieving your goals. It puts you in control of your life.  We need to give people more help to get their own plans in place. We also need to highlight the value of sound professional Financial Planning advice from qualified experts such as Certified Financial PlannerCM professionals or IFP’s Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM.  During Financial Planning Week, we’re working hard to offer that all important help that can make such a difference to people’s lives.”

Rebecca Taylor FIFP, CFPCM of Dunham Financial Services and President of IFP comments “The unfortunate reality for professional Financial Planners is that the British public has little awareness of genuine Financial Planning. The focus of regulators, media and of course the large sales forces from the banks and insurers, has always been centred around product-based advice. How can we expect people to value Financial Planning if they are not aware of what it involves? It can be confusing, and as Financial Planners we must take responsibility to help educate and clearly explain the benefits and value that Financial Planning brings. Yes, many Financial Plans involve solutions that may include products such as pensions or ISAs so it’s easy to understand why many may think that’s all it involves.  This is a problem as it means that most people will only seek help when they perceive a need for a product. I would urge everyone to book in for a free Financial Planning surgery this week, you may just find that it is easier to plan when there is no urgency than to wait until you really need something.”

Alan Dick CFPCM, of Forty Two Wealth Management and IFP Vice President comments: “A problem shared is a problem halved but only if you share it with the right people.  It is shocking that less than 1 in 20 have a comprehensive Financial Plan in place to help them achieve their most important financial goals. Many people think a comprehensive Financial Plan needs to be a 100 page document that they look at once then use as a door stop. The reality is that a good financial plan should be a living document which clearly expresses what you are trying to achieve in life and how you are going to go about it. The most important (and often the most difficult) part about any plan though is putting it into action.  In practice, without professional help very few people ever get round to taking the necessary action. As the majority of respondents are not aware of the benefits of professional advice, I hope that as a result of all the activities taking place this week,  especially the free financial surgeries and IFP’s ask a planner service, we can start to break down the barriers and help people to see for themselves what a powerful  force financial planning really is.”

To help people improve their financial “fitness”, tips and tools are available free of charge on Members of the public can also take advantage of free financial surgeries offered by professional planners around the country, including many of the IFP’s Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM

Special thanks to 2013 supporters of Financial Planning Week




Survey notes
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,034 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 18th November 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). *Figure taken from a comparative YouGov studies carried out for Financial Planning Week in 2011 and 2012