Work needed to convince wealthy individuals of the advantages of fee only financial advice Print
News - Politics
Friday, 08 October 2010 09:17

Support from wealthy individuals for fee only financial advice is gaining support with the UK leading the way but not everyone is convinced, a report suggests.

  
New laws and regulations are being introduced in various countries in Europe ahead of EU wide changes. The most prominent example is probably the UK where independent advisers will have to charge their clients directly by 2012.
 
However, according to a report from MyPrivateBanking that appetite for fee only advice is also gaining ground in Germany. The independent research company surveyed 300 wealthy individuals in Germany on their needs and preferences with regard to fee only financial advice. The results show that this new type of financial advice is already familiar to many wealthy clients even though actual experience has been limited.
 
According to the study, two thirds of participants were aware of the concept of fee only advice but only 13% of them had actually used a fee only adviser in the past. The willingness to pay for fee only advice is not yet strong, as the client has to part with the fee to before actual investment success is visible.
 
Only 10% of the surveyed wealthy investors would be prepared to pay €2,000 or more to an adviser despite the fact that regular commission based advisers get on average substantially more than this out of their clients even though the client is in many cases not aware of it.
 
The level of satisfaction with fee only advice was about 10% lower than the satisfaction of clients who used regular financial advice.
 
‘Overall, these results show that while the legal foundations for fee based advice have been laid, clients are not fully convinced of the advantages of fee only regimes,’ said Steffen Binder, research director of MyPrivateBanking.
 
The study’s findings suggest that fee only financial advisers must develop clear qualifications and quality standards to position themselves clearly in the market place. The focus should be on the segment of clients with more than €500,000 of investable assets, the group that shows the highest interest in fee only financial advice.
 
However, over the course of time the regulatory framework and the increasing education of clients will give fee-only advisers a good opportunity to gain a much bigger market share in the market for wealth management.  ‘In the UK, being furthest advanced in this respect, fee only advisers have already achieved market share of more than 10%. A perspective that should make the traditional wealth management industry in Europe sit up and take note,’ added Binder.