# COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE

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1 ABI RESEARCH PAPER NO 22, 2010 COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE Identifying and quantifying the cost of the key components of a full advice service Report from Charles River Associates By Kyla Malcolm, Tim Wilsdon and Charles Xie

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7 COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE Table 1 Cost of advice ( ) Product Successful sales only Cost taking into account unsuccessful sales Saving and investments Pensions Protection Average Source: CRA calculations. The average cost of advice for successful sales is estimated as 510. account the unsuccessful sales increases this figure to 670. Taking into Minimum case size Based on the cost of providing financial advice and average commission rates calculated by the FSA, we estimate the minimum case size that would be necessary for the commission generated to meet the costs of providing advice. Across all product types, customers making regular contributions would need an average annual contribution of 2,310 ( 193 monthly), while customers making a lump sum investment would need to be able to invest 10,300. Accounting for unsuccessful sales increases the minimum case size to 3,080 ( 257 monthly) for regular contributions and 13,730 for lump sum investments. Some advisers would be willing to take on new customers with small value investments even if customers would not be immediately profitable. This is partly explained by their expectation that these customers would become profitable in the future. Potential market size by product Having identified the size of premiums for which advice can be profitably provided, we also assessed the potential market size associated with these levels of contributions i.e. to consider the number of customers that might be able to make investments of the necessary level (not the customer who would be willing to make these investments). 7

8 ABI RESEARCH PAPER NO 22, 2010 Table 2 Population size (millions) Successful sales only Taking into account unsuccessful sales Regular contributions Collective investments Pensions Protection Lump sum investments Collective investments Investment bond Pensions Source: CRA calculations. Overall we find that when taking into account the costs of unsuccessful sales, around 9-12 million customers could be profitably served for most products although this figure falls to around 1 million for regular contribution pensions. 8

10 ABI RESEARCH PAPER NO 22,

11 COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE 1.0 INTRODUCTION Charles River Associates (CRA) was commissioned by the ABI to conduct research into the cost of providing financial advice. The aim of the research is to identify the key components of a full advice service and to quantify the time and costs associated with each individual component. The research seeks to identity: how the cost of full advice varies by the types of adviser, customer and product; the size of the market for which it is economic to provide full financial advice (as measured by a minimum case size that can be profitably served) under the current regulatory regime; and market segments of potentially profitable customers. The ABI was keen to understand the activities involved in the existing advice process and gain a detailed assessment of the current time taken for these activities. Providing a detailed breakdown also enables the ABI to assess the time taken for those activities that may be particularly affected by regulatory changes such as those introduced by the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). 1.1 Background on the market The ABI requested that this research cover three different types of products: Savings and investments such as investment bonds; Pensions such as personal pensions and individual stakeholder pensions; and Protection such as term assurance, income protection and critical illness. It is worth noting that there are differences between the distribution channels that are commonly used for each product as shown in Table 3 below. 11

16 ABI RESEARCH PAPER NO 22, 2010 Chapter 3 provides the results of our analysis in terms of the amount of time that it takes for the advice process to be completed. This information is provided for different channels, new and existing customers and products; and Chapter 4 translates these results into a cost of advice in monetary terms and then examines the minimum case size that could be served in order to cover these costs. 16

23 COST OF PROVIDING FINANCIAL ADVICE Firms offering ongoing services tend to spend more time on post-sale administration than those who are not. They may call the client to check if he is satisfied with the service. Firms who are paid on a fee basis would also have to undertake administration related to payments of their fees, while those paid through commission may need to spend time reconciling payments from providers. 23

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