Since the Retail Distribution Review in 2013, clients in the UK have had a greater understanding of the fees they pay for financial advice. Thankfully all independent advisers are now fee-based, as Cavendish has been since inception, meaning what you pay for financial guidance is clear and transparent.
This move has led to a pronounced emphasis on the value of a good adviser but can clients be sure that their financial mentor is worth what they pay?
Low-cost asset management company Vanguard produced a study into what it terms ‘Adviser Alpha’ – defined as the difference between the return that investors might achieve with guidance and the return that the might achieve by ‘going-it-alone’.
The research set out seven key areas where advisers can add value such as wealth management and financial planning which you would expect, together with one which you might not, behavioural coaching. The calculations report that the support of an adviser gives clients an extra 3 per cent return each year.
Behaviour coaching is more important than ever. Remaining disciplined at times of market volatility can be easier than it sounds. Few investors can stay calm when the market noise is at its loudest – they may chop and change investment strategy, trade shares in online accounts, chase hot funds or star managers or time their entry / exit into markets badly.
As investment guru Benjamin Graham famously stated: ‘The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.’
The term ‘behavior gap’ was created by American adviser Carl Richards to describe the gap between the higher returns investors could earn and the lower returns they actually earned. He reasons that investors earn lower returns not because of the investments they choose, but because of their own behaviour of buying and selling at the wrong time and making poor decisions about those investments.
Although each investor is different, human nature means that most of us will display emotionally-led behaviour while investing. Becoming an effective ‘behavioural coach’, helping investors to avoid knee-jerk reactions and to maintain a long-term perspective, is one of the key components of my job and something which I’ve seen pay considerable dividends.