The many different kinds of financial adviser

Sometimes, the principle of mediocrity seems to rule supreme, while at others, the incredible diversity of financial advice surprises.

Friday, April 26th 2019, 11:59AM

by Russell Hutchinson

Russell Hutchinson

Clients are different. They have many different requirements, preferences, and come in all sorts of different packages. From kitchen table, to boardroom table. From traditional nuclear family to thoroughly modern cohabitations. Desktop to digital. Rich and poor. Healthy and not. You name it.

By some measures the industry serves them well. In parts our failings a so large. Advisers try to bridge this gap with unique variations of service. They find their market and specialise until there is literally no one better at that specific segment. This article is to honour that variety.

One of my favourites has followed the path of corporate and high value specialisation. He approaches people involved in the largest and most successful enterprises in the country and works a long game to prove, slowly but surely, the value of professional advice to them – across the specialisations of property insurance as well as life and health. Their service is entirely bespoke, and recommendations finely crafted. To keep his feet on the ground he does pro-bono work for people starting small businesses.

Another star works as a risk director in a mortgages and insurance business and has just started work on a whole lot of process automation. You should have seen how excited they were to be deploying a form of artificial intelligence to handle inquiries. It was awesome.

A different kind of adviser-entrepreneur has been acquiring adviser businesses – building an engine that will power a larger national advice enterprise. The job requires managerial and finance talent alongside the appreciation for the advice delivery issues in the business.
Still more variations emerge. Two I had lunch with a few weeks ago are risk specialists working at a high level with relatively high-income clients, complex cases, and a lot of fee-for-service work. That was the main reason for our getting together, as much of the work they do helps to mend some less good work that was done before.

Talking of fees, there are some fee-only advisers, working away at proving that particular model.

Another based in the South recently called to tell me about his project to alert his customers to the limitations of much directly-sold cover.

I could go on and on about these people, and more like them, and their endeavours. As different from one another as people are. Some would be highly critical of the approaches taken by others – believing that there is a ‘best’ way – but most would be philosophical about the many requirements of clients and the brilliant variety of solutions that the market has room to provide. Besides, there never really seems to be a shortage of problems to be solved, so there is always room for more good advice.

Tags: financial advisers Russell Hutchinson

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