The increasing demand for accountants to provide financial advice
Accountants play a central role in the lives of many of their clients. Given their acute understanding of client finances and the close business relationship they have with clients, it is unsurprising that many are asked to provide estate planning and financial advice.
Chartered Accountants have been a core focus for Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I) for many years. IW&I has extensive experience in supplying discretionary investment management and tax planning services to the clients of accountants – the firm has long been aware of the trend with regards to accountants playing a role as a key financial intermediary.
In early 2015*, IW&I published research among accountants on their attitude and sentiment towards this role. The survey found that accountants had by and large experienced a sharp rise in demand for financial advice over the previous 12 months: more than a third (37%) of respondents had experienced an increase in demand for advice about finance from clients.
A large majority (75%) of those surveyed said that they were asked for advice on pensions, while close to two-thirds had been asked to give advice about inheritance tax planning.
Around 40% of the queries related specifically to income and capital gains tax on investments, windfalls and potential investment opportunities.
Other findings included:
- Reasons given for the increase in demand included a heightened awareness of inheritance planning (70%), a rise in client liquid assets (39%) and an increase in property transactions among clients (33%).
- More than two thirds (69%) of respondents said they referred clients seeking financial advice to a financial adviser.
- One in five (20%) said they provided the advice themselves. A further 4% said they referred them to someone other than a financial adviser, with 6% declining to help their clients.
For many people with complicated financial affairs, a Chartered Accountant is often the first port of call for advice on investments, especially if there are questions about tax that need to be clarified.
High property prices with their impact on inheritance tax and the changes to the pension regime have added to the trend, so it is unsurprising that accountants are increasingly being asked questions about financial planning.
However, given this, IW&I believes it is very important for accountants to have access to trusted partners bearing in mind the changes in the regulatory landscape and constantly evolving legislation.
* Pollright interviewed a sample of 119 randomly selected UK-based accountants online between 27-28 November 2014 on behalf of Investec Wealth & Investment, with the results published in February 2015
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About Investec Wealth & Investment
Investec Wealth & Investment is one of the UK's leading investment management companies, with responsibility for over £27.5 bn* of client assets.
*As at March 2016
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.