Many people still refrain from getting financial advice because they find it too expensive or are unaware of the benefits of the service. To add to this, there’s a general belief that traditional financial advice is only available to individuals with a high net worth or who are approaching retirement. These misconceptions prevent a wider audience from accessing financial advice, widening the financial advice gaps.
In this blog, we’ll have a look at the different types of financial advice gaps-
Affordable Advice Gap
The Affordable Advice Gap exists when individuals can access financial advice, but the cost still limits them from getting the level of advice they need or tailored to their goals.
This includes individuals who can pay for essential financial advice but miss out on fully personalised or comprehensive advice.
The cost of financial advice services is a significant deterrent for first-time customers (we’ve covered the cost rationale in our previous post). To combat this, financial advisors can introduce tiered pricing strategies for advice, and individuals can access free or low-cost online resources to aid their financial decision-making. Financial advisors increasingly need to convince individuals of the value of their service, by demonstrating the areas that they can add value to and by showing the impact of receiving advice in the long run.
Free Advice Gap
The Free Advice Gap arises when customers cannot pay for advice and are unaware or unable to access free resources. Financial advice can be pretty expensive for people with limited financial resources.
For example, a new investor struggles to understand the market and cannot afford to pay for financial advice. Without proper guidance, the inexperienced investor may find it challenging to navigate the complexities of the market and may make poor investment decisions, leading to negative financial consequences.
The Government has created a singular guidance body known as the Money and Pensions Service to help improve people’s financial capabilities. Additionally, there are a variety of online resources and tools that can help individuals with making financial decisions without paying for advice.
This article outlines websites that help individuals get free financial advice services.
Awareness and Referral Gap
Awareness and Referral Gap occurs when individuals or groups are unaware of the importance of financial planning or do not understand the potential benefits of financial advice. It also means they do not know how and where to access financial advice.
This gap can affect individuals unaware of financial advisory services and who are not referred to a financial advisor by their bank because they do not meet the minimum asset requirements for these services.
Financial institutions can work to improve awareness of advisor and guidance services for their consumers. For example, guidance organisations should offer better information and referral about paid-for financial advice services and help consumers understand the differences between particular advisors and advice options so they can decide which service to seek. Advisor groups can also promote their products and services via advertising, educational resources and tie-ups with relevant organisations.
The Trust Gap appears when individuals or groups do not trust financial advisors or institutions and are hesitant to seek or follow financial advice.
This could stem from either a lack of transparency on the products, services or fees charged by the financial advisors, negative experience with financial advisors or negative media coverage about financial frauds or scams.
Financial advisors can be upfront about their charges and fees to tackle the trust gap and offer transparent information on their products and services. They can also show their regulatory credentials, and offer case studies of other clients they have helped (where relevant) to showcase trust and authenticity.
Preventative Advice Gap
The Preventative Advice Gap is where individuals or groups can prevent future financial problems by seeking financial advice earlier. This type of gap arises when people focus only on their current financial situation rather than planning for the future. As a result, they may miss out on opportunities to improve their economic well-being in the long term.
An example of this could be a young adult who needs proper guidance on managing their finances for the future. Without appropriate preventative advice, they may struggle financially in case of a job loss or a medical emergency.
To address this gap, financial institutions, advisors and the government offer affordable (or free) educational resources and proactive guidance to help individuals develop good financial habits and learn more about managing their finances for the long term.
Looking at these advice gaps in 2023, there’s still a long way to go to ensure that people don't miss out on basic financial advice that meets their needs. To summarise, here are the top 3 ways we can close the gap -
- Publicise the benefits of advice
- Restore consumer confidence in financial advice
- Offer transparent price guides and fee structures