Outside the box - what does an IFA actually do?


Outside the box - what does an IFA actually do?

Clients often tell their financial adviser things they probably would not tell anyone else on the planet. These additional bits of local colour vary from the trivial; “I’m petrified of spiders, could you get the one out of the bath”, to dramatic revelations like the existence of a second family, 80 miles away or an impending divorce, long before solicitors are instructed.

I said to Julian that independent financial advisers could do with a “James Herriott” moment; exposure to mass media in an engaging manner, emphasising the more heart-warming side of the business, (cuddly animals getting better, rather than being put down), as most financial adviser media exposure is about rip-off Britain, fraud and bad advice. “All Creatures Great and Small” did a massive amount for the status of vets, especially the television series, which was ‘must see’ television in the 1970s/80s and 1990s. (For those far too young to have any idea of what I am talking about, have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Herriot and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Creatures_Great_and_Small_(TV_series).

I am aware of some mainstream fiction involving an IFA from the pen of Felix Francis, (Dick Francis’ younger son), but I hardly think that solving a rather nasty fictional murder does much for the general public image of IFAs!

So, what guidance can I offer the dramatist looking to make an independent financial adviser the subject of a heart-warming multi-generational drama suitable for Sunday evening watching, say after Songs of Praise, but before Antiques Roadshow?

Put like that, it gets tricky; this is a people business and the best results are developed over a generation, unlike James Herriott, we cannot have a dramatic episode with a cow’s caesarean section! Good financial advice is measured and rather bureaucratic, so it could have all the appeal of the test card or watching paint dry.

Maybe this publicity drive would be better off as an educational radio soap like the Archers? Setting out in dramatic form the best approach to saving an emergency fund or starting a pension, much as the Archers used to use the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food advice leaflets!  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Archers).

Given all those restriction and problems, what am I most proud of in terms of helping people?

  • Helping people set objectives to move their finances from precarious day to day to well structured and capable of dealing with life’s turbulence.
  • Establish tailored protection insurance to ensure that illness or death does not destroy the family.
  • Decode the paperwork routinely sent out by providers that make little sense to a lay audience.
  • Help people plan a retirement so that they feel in control and retain choices along the way.
  • Give clients the confidence to manage their money in the way that benefits them the most. For some, they need permission to spend “rainy day” money in their later years, for others, to retire before they are burnt out.
  • Help people see the opportunities that their businesses offer them, making the best use of taxation allowances, business structures and external resources.
  • Acting as a trusted adviser, sorting scams from respectable opportunities.
  • Laying a trail, from birth to death, to make the best of the financial resources given or earned to our client and their family

If you would like to know more about how we can help you plan and realise your financial goals then contact us at info@martin-redmanpartners.co.uk or call us on 01223 792 196.

The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.