Meanwhile, a demographic transformation is also taking place. This is highlighting the challenge of a widening advice gap in the UK, as well as a large mass affluent client segment opportunity, and a changing view on how clients access advice experiences, and how they wish to invest their money.
As these paradigm shifts take place, the trends affecting advice continue to represent both opportunities and challenges.
The Great Wealth Transfer
A fundamental generational shift is creeping over the horizon of the adviser market. Our market is buoyed by the advice needs of the wealthiest demographic, known colloquially as the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). However, as they age and nature takes its course, we will start to see the long-trailed Great Wealth Transfer take place. In the UK, this could see an estimated £5.5 trillion of assets passed down intergenerationally between now and 20501. Over the course of the current decade alone, a £1 trillion wealth transfer is expected to take place – the most significant in history1.
Engaging across the generations is key to client and asset retention
Engaging across the generations is key to client and asset retention. Research by Deloitte has suggested that up to 90% of heirs change their adviser upon wealth transfer2. It's therefore important that advisers consider what's creating this apparent disconnect between them and their clients' beneficiaries. Is this purely a choice not to engage with beneficiaries? Or is there a need to consider how to engage demographics that might differ from their current clients?
Prior to 2022, average CPI inflation over the previous 20 years was around 2%3. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have culminated in surging inflation and the fastest rise in interest rates for 40 years. For many advisers, the spectre of inflation management conversations with clients will either be a new one – or a distant memory.
In response to societal shifts and an increasingly interested younger demographic, policymakers are responding to growing societal demands. In addition, they've proposed hundreds of ESG (environmental, social and governance)-related regulations in the past few years.
In the UK, the Sustainable Disclosure Regime will shape the landscape of sustainable investing products and how these products are marketed. Advisers are awaiting a further FCA consultation on the obligations that will sit with them within their advice processes.
The wider societal narrative around sustainability is creating a 'pull' factor from clients
Whilst we wait for regulatory clarity and a robust foundation of disclosure, the wider societal narrative around sustainability is creating a 'pull' factor from clients, who increasingly want to have conversations with advisers on this theme.
In response to the advice gap here in the UK, low cost, high convenience and consistency of automated advice will drive growth across large-scale market entities. Accessing the mass affluent segment at scale, with managed risks and profitability, will require a digital-first approach to engagement; and following the Covid-19 pandemic, online transactions are now the norm.
Against this backdrop, advisers are likely to consider and increase client segmentation and to specialise in areas where the most complex advice needs exist. Given the growth in large-scale mass affluent offerings, advisers will need to consider how they can increase systemisation in their business to boost productivity, or ‘humanise’ their offering for more sophisticated clients.
As advisers look to increase efficiency, reduce costs and manage regulatory change (especially the impact of consumer duty and incoming sustainability suitability obligations), the trend of outsourcing some or all of a centralised investment proposition is likely to grow. This will require strong due diligence processes on the part of advisers, in line with FCA guidelines.
Today’s busy advisers must navigate shifting demographics and industry change, at a time when their clients' top concerns include inflation and sustainability.
A cost-effective outsourced investment solution can offer clients a range of investment styles and risk levels, as well as sustainable fund options. The best providers oversee asset allocation, fund selection and ongoing rebalancing of portfolios, as well as offering full adviser support services.
Such solutions can also help maximise the opportunity presented by current advice trends, because they free-up time for client meetings, research, and strategic business planning.
- Standard Life Future of Retirement 2018
- Deloitte: Wealth Management Digitalization changes client advisory more than ever before, June 2017
- RI, Feb 2023