Archived article: This article was correct at the time of publishing. Tax, investments and pension rules can change over time so the information below may not be current.

Where have all the bank financial advisers gone?

Has your bank’s investment adviser gone quiet on you recently? If they have, you’re not alone. A huge number of people, who in the past have relied on a bank’s adviser, have found themselves stranded recently and forced into making important investment decisions alone.

Lee Dooley Lee Dooley
10 January 2014

Why is this happening?

In some cases it’s because the bank has decided that it is no longer financially viable to give advice to people with less than £50,000 or even £100,000. (Lloyds is an example of a bank that is no longer offering face-to-face financial advice to those with less than £100,000 in savings and investments.) So, to put it bluntly, you’re not worth it. In other cases, banks have pulled the plug on their investment advice services altogether, putting a lot of advisers out of work and leaving their customers high and dry. Barclays, for example, has closed its financial planning arm.

This has largely come about because of something known as RDR – the Retail Distribution Review – which was carried out by the financial regulator to, among other things, make sure people were getting a fair deal from financial services companies. It wanted to stop the all too common practice of advisers selling investments not on merit or suitability for a client but instead because of the juicy commission they were receiving. So, commission on financial advice is now outlawed and, in its place is an upfront fee, which means you can see exactly what you’re paying for.

A lot of the banks – and other providers of financial advice – have done their sums and realised that in the post-RDR world they just can’t make enough money out of advising people who don’t have a substantial amount of money to invest. And this leaves so many of you in an incredibly precarious position, needing or wanting help with your investments but without an adviser to turn to.

So what can you do?

Well, thankfully there are still plenty of options open to you and the great news is that if you choose wisely you could well end up with a much better arrangement than you had before. Let’s face it, banks don’t exactly have a great reputation for putting their customers’ needs first. And even if you did have an excellent adviser who understood your needs and helped you make important investment decisions, this adviser would only have had access to a very limited range of investments, either just from their bank or, if you were lucky, through a tie-up with a fund management house. So, with the best will in the world, your financial adviser was unlikely to have been offering you the best investments at the best price.

To help you start over, we have rounded up a number of excellent – and very different – solutions.

A cost-effective managed investment solution

Our Multi-Asset Portfolios are an excellent, cost-effective option if you would rather leave the choosing and managing of your investments to the professionals.

  • Choose from five investment strategies, each designed to meet different investment needs and attitudes to risk
  • Each portfolio contains a well-diversified mix of extensively researched investments
  • Invest from just £500

A ready-made investment portfolio

If you don’t feel you need your investments managed for you but would like help in identifying a selection of funds across key markets, why not opt for one of our ready-made investment portfolios?

Download our 2-pager on ready-made investment portfolios

A powerful way to choose and manage your own investments

If you would rather manage your investments without receiving financial advice, why not try the Bestinvest Online Investment Service? This enables you to develop and set investment goals, choose investments via our powerful Investment Selector or view a selection of our research-backed ideas, and then manage, monitor and analyse your investments across all account types.

Before you decide, see how your current investments are faring?

Our Free Investment Report Service and Tool creates a quick and simple way for you to analyse your investments on the key measures of risk level, asset allocation and investment rating. Visit bestinvest.co.uk/first to use the tool or call us on 020 7189 2400 and we can prepare a report for you.

Bestinvest First is a guidance-only service, which means it does not provide investment advice or recommendations. The value of investments, and the income derived from them, can go down as well as up and you can get back less than you originally invested. This article does not constitute personal advice. If you are in doubt as to the suitability of an investment please contact one of our advisers. Prevailing tax rates and reliefs are dependent on your individual circumstances and are subject to change. Different funds carry varying levels of risk depending on the geographical region and industry sector in which they invest. Past performance or any yields quoted should not be considered reliable indicators of future returns.