A London-based adviser has called on her peers to stop making excuses for turning away clients.
At the UK Financial Engagement and Education event, hosted by Jonathan Edwards MP in the House of Commons and organised by London-based IFA Filip Slipaczek, Hayley North (pictured) expressed concerns about client exclusion.
North, managing director of London-based firm Rose and North, said the costs of regulation that are often cited as a reason for turning away clients who can afford the fee but would not bring in more than ‘a couple of grand’ are overblown and the real reason is the focus on profit margin.
‘I think client exclusion is a huge part of the problem. This is a problem which exists at the adviser’s door, it is not that the client cannot find you in the first place.
‘There are some issues around regulatory costs of running a business but to be honest I’m not sure they are as a big issues as we like to make out. There is a lot of greed out there and a lot of laziness,’ North told the delegates and experts on the panel.
Tish Hanifan, founder and joint chairman of the Society of Later life Advisers (SOLLA), was one of the panellists to agree with North.
‘Some people will make arbitrary decisions not to advise people who have under a certain amount of money. That means they don’t do a fact find to see if that person has other assets and they will not hear about friends and family members who also need advice,' she said.
‘I totally agree there’s a role for financial advisers not just in getting people to them but in being prepared to take a wider range of clients when they do come through.'
Personal Finance Society (PFS) chief executive Keith Richards, who was also on the panel, disagreed with North and said language was a problem facing IFAs.
‘I think about 80% of the sector do exactly [as North does] and lots of advisers do work pro bono where full advice is not needed but we don’t capture any of this.
‘l don’t think the language we use around segmenting and only dealing with clients of a certain asset value is helpful- it compound the issue of trust and politicians that hear us talk that way think we just dump poor people on the street we are not interested in hard working people on the street who want [to improve their financial situation],’ said Richards.
The PFS chief executive also said a culture of bravado, although also found in any other profession, is something that causes advisers to be reluctant to talk about servicing clients with fewer assets.