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Closing the advice gap – one question at a time

MoneyFlex from unbiased.co.uk is answering users’ financial questions online, free of charge. No fees are changing hands – so why are so many IFAs queuing up to get involved?

 
A lady contacts a financial website in a state of anxiety, fearing that her pension has been poorly reinvested and also that she has been targeted by scammers. Very quickly a number of different IFAs rally round with insights on how to handle the situation, and soon the lady is considerably reassured. Meanwhile other users are raising questions about mortgages, investments and expat finances, and receiving similarly helpful answers from the expert panel. 
 
It’s just another day on MoneyFlex, the new free Q&A service from unbiased.co.uk. A steady stream of people (who may never have used an adviser before) are logging on and posting their questions or concerns, and generally going away satisfied. Probably many of these exchanges won’t result in any chargeable work – so are the IFAs wasting their time?  Far from it.
 
‘In terms of bridging the advice gap, this is a game-changer,’ says Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk. ‘Currently, only around one in six people have sought professional financial advice of any kind. Part of the issue is that people are reluctant to buy into what they don’t understand. But when people come to MoneyFlex and see how helpful the advisers are, and how many ways advice can make a difference, they become much more likely to consider formal advice or recommend it to a friend.’
 
One of the most active advisers to date has been Steve Carlson of Carlson Wealth Management. He likes the way it corrects popular misconceptions about financial advisers. ‘Far too many people still think financial planners are just salesmen out to sell products, so if initiatives like this one can show them that we are a profession where clients come first, that will improve the public’s perception.’ He has found MoneyFlex to be a satisfying and enjoyable experience. ‘It’s good to be able to give something back, while highlighting the value of good financial advice. The questions come from people of all levels of wealth – some can be answered quickly and simply, while a lot of the time it’s about giving people an idea of what broader issues may be involved, and how a good IFA could help them.’
 
Rebecca Aldridge of Balance Wealth Planning has found the experience equally rewarding. ‘I love the fact that the questions range enormously, from really straightforward to super-technical. And the answers that advisers give are helpful and detailed. I must admit that even I have learned bits and pieces by reading through answers from my professional colleagues.’ She feels that MoneyFlex is meeting an important need. ‘I appreciate that sometimes it’s hard to know where to go for advice, so this forum is a great idea. It feels good to be part of a community of advisers who are prepared to spare a few minutes to help others.’
 
If you read the Q&A history on the MoneyFlex homepage, you’ll see why it has so many people excited. Something new is happening: members of the public are engaging with advisers en masse, encouraged to ask questions when they otherwise wouldn’t have. In just over a month, MoneyFlex has already begun to chip away at one of the biggest barriers to advice, just by opening up a dialogue between advisers and a new potential client base. If only a fraction of those users go on to engage an IFA, then the benefits on both sides will be more than worth it.
 
You can find MoneyFlex at www.unbiased.co.uk/moneyflex. To find out how to get involved, head over to business.unbiased.co.uk/moneyflex-for-advisers.
 
 
[Sponsored article by unbiased.co.uk]
 

 

 

Author: LifeTalk Admin (Bella)
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2016 | 8:09:21 AM


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