Advice gap: Unless you are well-off, getting money help has become harder since the big financial services overhaul which banned backdoor commission deals in 2013
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Want money help from a pro for £900? New ‘hybrid advice’ deal offers one-off financial guidance without ongoing percentage fees

A new one-off financial guidance service for a flat £900 (£750 plus VAT) is being launched by wealth manager Charles Stanley.

The offer covers several online sessions with a qualified financial adviser to discuss your circumstances, a personalised plan of action and a follow-up support service.

There are four options based on common requirements of people needing money help – a financial healthcheck, assistance in getting pension savings on the right track, sorting out your finances when you retire, and minimising inheritance tax.

Advice gap: Unless you are well-off, getting money help has become harder since the big financial services overhaul which banned backdoor commission deals in 2013

Advice gap: Unless you are well-off, getting money help has become harder since the big financial services overhaul which banned backdoor commission deals in 2013

A client using Charles Stanley’s new OneStep ‘hybrid advice’ service can then choose to invest using its DIY platform Charles Stanley Direct, or to get more intensive help from a financial planner or investment manager, if they wish.

Charles Stanley offers a ‘restricted’ advice service, focusing on a limited selection of products and providers, rather than a full range like an independent financial adviser.

Paying a fixed amount for one-off financial help rather than an annual percentage of your investments can achieve massive savings if you have a large portfolio, although the benefits diminish for people with smaller sums.

For example, you could save thousands of pounds a year if looking to invest £100,000 for five years, instead of using an adviser charging a fairly typical 3 per cent initial fee and 0.75 per cent annually.

Unless you are well-off, getting money help has become harder since the big financial services overhaul which banned cosy backdoor commission deals in 2013.

Financial advisers routinely levy upfront percentage fees plus ongoing charges on savings for their services – not including platform and investment fund costs which come on top – and some have stopped doing business with any but the most wealthy clients.

Some adviser firms have also launched their own in-house or ‘white-label’ platforms and investment funds, to harvest bigger ongoing fees by getting a cut from them as well as for advice. 

We looked here at the risks of signing up to a financial adviser’s tied funds and platforms.

As a result, many people opt to research and buy their own investments via a DIY online broker, which is cheaper but you have to go it alone.

But many financial firms offer to bridge the ‘advice gap’ in various ways, including via robo or automated advice, and model portfolios based on your needs and risk appetite. 

Charles Stanley says its new OneStep offer aims to guide and inform clients at key milestones or life stages.

‘Often people have questions and concerns about their finances, but have no idea where to start, who to turn to, or risk receiving misinformation from unregulated sources,’ it says.

‘Clients get access to a structured process including online tools, guides, and time with a financial planner to review their personal circumstances. [They] sit down in a series of online meetings with a qualified financial adviser to discuss their goals and challenges, and to discuss their possible options.

‘It’s a flat fee so we don’t charge by the hour. You’ll have a discovery phase, a consultation and finally an opportunity to ask questions once you have the report. It varies depending on the individual and how much time you will get with the planner isn’t limited.’

Charles Stanley cites consumer research by financial information service Boring Money, which in its 2022 Advice Report revealed 28 per cent of potential clients would prefer to pay a one-off fixed fee for on-demand advice.

Lisa Caplan, director of foundation financial planning, says: ‘At what is a difficult and uncertain time for adults all over the country, there is a risk that the advice gap will continue to grow.

‘People are either disenfranchised, don’t know where to start, at an advice event crossroad, or feel priced out. This is exacerbated by an increasing raft of misinformation and confusing financial jargon online and on social media.

‘People often feel stressed, don’t know where to turn and don’t see themselves as wealthy enough for a service they feel is designed for the super-rich.

‘This service is a first step for people who need hands-on guidance with the reassurance of a professional to talk to.’

How to invest in a stocks & shares Isa and become a smarter investor 

What are the essential things you need to know about a stocks and shares Isa and investing in general, whether you are just getting started or an existing investor looking to spruce up their portfolio? 

On this special Isa investing podcast, Rob Morgan, chief analyst at Charles Stanley, joins This is Money editor Simon Lambert to discuss how to be a smarter investor. 

 Press play to listen to the episode on the player above, or listen (and please subscribe and review us if you like the podcast) at Apple Podcasts, Acast, Audioboom and Spotify or visit our This is Money Podcast page.   

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