20th June 2013
The internet has slowly but surely revolutionised how people buy financial products and services. A new website – www.guidetoadvice.co.uk – is aiming to help you to navigate this world with an overview of hundreds of financial websites now on offer.
Here is founder Kim North explaining the thinking. “Guidetoadvice has launched the first in-depth, searchable and reviewed directory for consumers seeking websites that provide information, financial guidance and advice, or looking for websites where financial products can be bought online – all free for consumers. Over 110 financial services websites have been reviewed and rated in a specialist directory, with more to be added on a regular basis.”
It is certainly a timely launch. When it comes to searching out and researching funds and fund management expertise or simply looking for ways to access passive exposure to different markets, there is a growing group of people who want to understand investment and then do things themselves.
In addition, those who use financial advisers are increasingly equipping themselves with more information and even many advisers themselves say they prefer to deal with these informed clients.
Finally there is a group of potentially orphaned clients whose numbers could run to several million. They may have been told they do not have enough assets to make it cost effective for their IFA to advise them or – and we think this is much more likely – their bank no longer offers advice to the mass market and regards them as part of the masses (even if they have a bank account and use other bank services). A huge number of high street banks have withdrawn from this part of the market and set very high minimums to access advice.
In this sort of environment, there is no shortage of websites which want to provide you with information. They also want you to buy something. That sounds fair enough of course especially if you want to buy something too. These sites have to make a living. We also think some of them are more explicit and better at disclosing what they are doing than others. The guide to advice may help you navigate things better or take a short cut to what you really need.
It looks like it is certainly worth a road test.