Leading financial planners collaborate to change consumers’ perceptions of financial advisers in new not-for-profit initiative
- Seminars to introduce ‘Financial Life Planning’ to UK consumers
For decades, the Financial Services industry has been losing credibility and the trust of consumers by failing to engage with them and to fully understand their needs.
Coupled with fears about dwindling pension funds and past miss-selling scandals, it’s no wonder that in today’s tougher economic times, anyone who deals with consumers’ money is under the scrutiny of a fiercely bright spotlight.
Meanwhile a quiet revolution is taking place, sidelining many so-called financial professionals and confining them to the past, as Google and social networks have become the first port of call for consumers looking for financial information and advice. It seems that more and more people would rather trust a plethora of financial websites and friends in an online forum than meet face-to-face with an old-style financial adviser.
And when consumers do find an IFA, 29% believe that their own financial knowledge is just as good as the adviser’s – with 28% believing that ‘advice’ is just a disguise for ‘sales’.  According to a survey by US based Spectrem Group, 77% of investors who read blogs are likely to consult them for information on new financial products and services, while 69% of LinkedIn users are likely to consult their LinkedIn networks on investment issues. 
Reinventing Financial Advice
But now a group of leading financial advice professionals is fighting back, and is set to change consumers’ perceptions of financial advisers and their relationships with them.
Project Eve is a collaboration of six of the UK’s most respected financial planners who are reinventing the way financial advice is perceived by and given to consumers.
‘Financial Life Planning’ puts consumers first, with decisions about their money driven solely by their deepest and most profound life goals. In fact, in some Life Planning consultations, a client’s money and what they should do with it is not even discussed.
Project Eve co-founder Bruce Wilson of Helm Godfrey Partners said today:
“Life planning works from the principle that better decisions are made about money when taken from a perspective of life itself rather than how much money you have. A Financial Life Planner is aware that people already know this, but most consumers don’t have the skills and knowledge to put it into practice and it’s unlikely that they will acquire them on the Internet.”
“This makes Financial Life Planning more like Life Coaching, but with focus on giving people resources and financial expertise to help them move forward and achieve great things in their lives.”
Bruce Wilson added:
“Most people are capable of achieving a much more fulfilled life than they could possibly have imagined, and more often than not it’s seldom about how much money they have. A Financial Life Planner will help them to firstly identify their key life goals and then create a plan to help them achieve what they really want.”
“In our own work with clients, we’ve seen people completely transform their lives. We’ve done this by using our Life Planning skills to help people identify for themselves what they truly want out of life, and then where necessary we’ve put the financials in place to help them get there.”
Intense professional training
Members of the Project Eve team have high profiles and are profoundly respected in the world of financial planning. This is largely down to their commitment to putting clients first and their money second, with each having undergone extensive training in how to ‘Life Plan’ clients through the Kinder Institute of Life Planning with its head office in the United States.
Their training has included an initial two-day course which explores the meaning of money and people’s relationship with it. This is followed by a five-day intensive advanced Life Planning course followed by close supervision through a six month mentoring programme. Successful completion results in advisers receiving the Registered Life Planner® designation.
Further evidence of the group’s commitment to the cause of helping consumers to re-engage with financial planners is that Project Eve is a not for profit initiative.
Life Planning Seminars
Project Eve will be touring the UK with a special introductory seminar, where attendees are introduced to the concept of Financial Life Planning, what it is, how it works, plus some of the techniques that Life Planners use to help clients. The seminar will also reveal real life case studies and practical demonstrations and will give attendees the opportunity to work personally with one of the Project Eve team.
Philip Calvert, founder of IFA Life (a social network for IFAs and financial planners) said today:
“To be quite frank, many people view a visit to a financial adviser as a necessary evil, but now for the first time we can envisage people even queuing up to work with a Life Planner. We study closely how financial advisers work with consumers, and we’ve no doubt that Life Planning will have huge appeal.”
The first seminar will be held at a central London location on 25th November 2010. Full details are available at the Project Eve website at http://www.projecteve.co.uk