Written on 27/05/2022


Charles Stanley this week of May 22 unveiled its own hybrid advice tool. For £900 the firm get on a zoom call with a customer, and give them broad guidance.  

Presumably this involves fact finding as well, with a view to a second meeting if this first meeting works out okay.

“This service is a first step for people who need hands on guidance with the reassurance of a professional to talk to. It offers a digital and convenient service, without losing the human touch of talking through individual circumstances. The aim is to help more people to get the advice they need and support them to reach their future goals.”

So says the firm that has just been bough (for a song) by Raymond James the US investment firm. 

I notice a number of trends in retail financial services over the last decade.

  • US firms buying up UK firms. This is hardly new, and the undervalued UK stockmarket, is a theme of post 1970’s Britain.
  • Law firms entering financial services again (Irwin Mitchell announcement today 27th May 22
  • Large provider firms (only) making proud announcements on digital offerings.   Often this is just zoom calls, such as Charles Stanley announced this week, but is an indication that they have an appetite to reappear, post credit crunch when they were effectively wiped out. 
  • One and two man IFAs becoming 5 and 6 man IFAs, often dominating a local small town.

One thing is true. When it comes to retail financial services, IFAs have the best set of cards in your hands.  You are the gatekeepers, and if you're a fund manager and want retail net inflows - you are not going very far without involving an IFA. 

Charlie Palmer

Chairman of IFAC

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