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Seventy percent of consumers who use a financial adviser are more confident about their financial situation and believe it will improve significantly over the next five years. 

This is according to a research study conducted by Columinate, on behalf of Liberty during national savings month in July, in an effort to understand how people relate to financial advisers.

The research found that 22% of respondents who do not have a financial adviser believe they are too expensive, while 19% believe an adviser would not add value to their lives.

Liberty’s group executive, Johan Minnie, says the research identified interesting facts and misconceptions about the people who play an important role in helping consumers plan for life’s uncertainties and build wealth throughout the different stages of their lives.

“As an industry, we understand the dynamics and nuances of the economy and the impact it has on our savings culture. The reality is that everyone needs help in navigating their financial journey, and this is where financial advisers become valuable. The issue of cost is a real concern for many. However, a financial plan and solutions are always tailored to the client’s individual needs,” says Minnie.

Amoné Redelinghuys, the digital research specialist at Columinate, says the study found that most of the respondents who have advisers were men aged between 35 and 44.

Redelinghuys says 23% of respondents have had a financial adviser since they were young adults: between 18 and 24.

She says 70% of consumers who have an adviser claim to be better off. Only one-quarter of those without an adviser said they have seen marginal improvements in their financial growth, she says.

“However, almost half of those without financial advisers have remained stagnant, or have watched their financial situation get worse over five years.”

She says that one in five South Africans would like to have the input of a financial adviser but don’t trust them enough to pursue this relationship.

“Only 21% are very or extremely likely to get a financial adviser, and when asked why, they said they would appreciate the value-add of advice. Both those with financial advisers and those without, say they need more advice from advisers on how to grow their wealth. This is a need for consumers (31%) which is currently not adequately addressed,” says Redelinghuys.

Jay Naidoo, Liberty’s divisional director for distribution transformation, says dialogues of this nature are important not only for the financial services industry, but also for consumers at large.

“What consumers need to be aware of is that financial advisers and insurers operate within tightly legislated environments and have a duty to treat customers fairly at all times. Guiding clients to achieving and attaining their financial goals and aspirations requires co-ordination and collaboration from both client and adviser. To this end, Liberty is focused on ensuring that our advisers are fully capable of providing the optimal level of service and support to the clients they engage with,” says Naidoo.

Carlo Gil, a financial adviser at Liberty, says: “As advisers, we need to continue working towards educating consumers on the value that we bring to one’s financial journey.”

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