Financial advice and the products sold by Financial Brokers, banks and life assurance company salespeople attract on-going and rigorous scrutiny by the media and other commentators. And rightly so! Consumers are placing their trust, their hard-earned financial assets and indeed their future lifestyles in the hands of these professionals, and so the industry deserves scrutiny.
The world in which financial advisers live is a highly regulated world. This is important as it helps build trust. But regulation on its own won’t achieve this; best practice has to also be employed by all of the professionals in the industry to help build this trust. Financial Brokers can at least be optimistic that they are continuing to build a greater sense of trust in what they do. In the internationally renowned Edelman Barometer 2015, trust levels in Ireland in financial services businesses continues to exceed that achieved by banks, and indeed financial services businesses showed the fasted growth rates in trust (albeit from a relatively low base).
So why are Financial Brokers more trusted than banks?
They want to build long-term relationships. Financial Brokers are different to bank salespeople as they are not out to achieve this year’s sales target, as passed down from Head Office to your local bank branch. That is the focus of the bank branch as staff change and move around from branch to branch. A Financial Broker on the other hand will only build a successful business if he or she can build loyal, long-term client relationships. They want to support you and provide financial advice as you go through every stage of your life. Thinking about short-term sales targets can never achieve that!
Their advice is impartial. At the end of the day, helping you to identify your financial objectives and developing your financial plan is only part of the financial advice story. You then need the right products in place. While bank staff only have access to the products of one company, your Financial Broker can find the right product for you from right across the market. This can result in cheaper life cover, broader and more suitable investment choices and better pension planning options for you. Your Financial Broker is solely interested in finding the best solution for you, as opposed to potentially force-fitting you into the only product available from a single supplier, as banks do.
Their sole focus is helping you achieve your financial objectives
Banks lend money, they hold deposits, they sell credit cards and (hopefully) they will give you a mortgage. They are, or at least should be good at all of that. But then the bank branch will also try and advise you in relation to your personal financial affairs.
Financial Brokers on the other hand are singularly focused on helping you manage your affairs and achieve your financial ambitions. That’s what they do, and they will travel on the long road with you as you achieve your financial dreams.