Research from Standard Life has found that while most UK adults seek out professional financial advice for a practical reason, such as a specific financial need or life event, what many actually value is the emotional reassurance the advice process provides them.
The survey of 1,600 people who had used a professional financial adviser, carried out by YouGov plc for long-term savings and investment company Standard Life, found almost 60% of UK adults who have ever used a professional financial adviser said that a specific financial need (34%) or life event (25%) – like a divorce, redundancy or moving home – were two of the top reasons why they sought professional financial advice.
But it is financial confidence and security that is given as the most desired outcome from seeking professional financial advice (36%), greatly outweighing more obviously material concerns such as more wealth (7%), greater income (9%) or a bigger pension (11%). Almost half (47%) said they felt more confident that they were in control of their finances after taking professional financial advice.
Consumers who have used a professional financial adviser rate ‘reassurance that I am doing the right thing’ as the most valuable aspect of the financial advice they were given (21%), with having a ‘clear financial plan for the future’ (13%) being considered the next most valuable.
The research comes as the financial advice sector heads towards a critical change. The implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) at the start of 2013 will enhance the way many advisers do business.
Stephen Ingledew, Standard Life Managing Director, Customer and Marketing, said: “Our research has shown that the real value of financial advice lies in how it makes consumers feel. It’s clear for many people that reassurance and confidence are more important than more material considerations such as being demonstrably better off. In other words ‘peace of mind’ can be priceless.”
Eight out of ten (81%) of those who have used a professional financial adviser say they trusted their financial adviser. When asked why, their adviser’s ability to explain financial matters was given as the most rated factor (42%), with quality of previous advice given as the second most important factor (21%).
Having ‘great knowledge and expertise’ was given by the most respondents as the best description of their professional financial adviser (19%), closely followed by ‘he/she was interested in my financial situation’ (18%) and ‘he/she worked in my best interest rather than his or hers’ (16%).
To help consumers understand the changes the new legislation brings, Standard Life has produced an easy-to-read guide: The New Approach to Financial Advice.