Majority of IFAs missing out on legal estate planning growth opportunity

27 April 2020

  • 3 in 4 IFAs believe better estate planning support would improve client satisfaction, retention and referrals
  • Yet 1 in 10 British clients are currently being prompted to make a will by their financial adviser
  • Taboo and technicality are the top barriers to IFAs identifying clients’ estate planning needs

Estate planning presents a growth opportunity for IFAs, but the significant majority are failing to capitalise because of the taboo and technicality of the topic, according to new research from Co-op Legal services.

The research identified legal estate planning as a growth opportunity for IFAs. As many as three quarters (75%) of IFAs believe that providing advice on wills and other legal estate planning would improve client satisfaction. Over half believe it would make it easier to retain customers and more than two thirds (67%) said it would increase the number of recommendations they receive via existing clients.

Yet currently, as few as one in 10 British clients are prompted by their financial adviser to make a will, despite almost all IFAs agreeing that clients are ill-informed or have poor understanding about what happens to their wealth when they die.

The research also revealed the scale of the unmet need – and the size of the opportunity. It found that as many as three quarters (73%) of people haven’t made a will and only half (53%) of married couples or those in a civil partnership have written one. At the same time, the current coronavirus pandemic appears to be driving demand for will writing advice and support, with Co-op reporting that sales have increased by multiples in recent weeks.

However, the research shows that people are confused about where to turn for advice, with almost a quarter (24%) having no idea who to go to – and only one in 10 (15%) considering their IFA.

The survey identifies two barriers currently preventing IFAs from capitalising on this unmet need and new demand. It found:

  • Taboo: Clients are often reluctant to talk about death and advisors feel ill-equipped for those conversations too. In fact, two in five (40%) advisers feel that their clients are hesitant to discuss death and later life planning. Nearly a quarter (24%) of IFAs say with more support around conversations regarding death, they would be better able to help clients.

  • Technicality: IFAs and clients alike are looking for help in navigating the complexities and technical nature of later life planning. More than a third (36%) of IFAs want support to deliver better services to clients and to build their own legal knowledge and one in ten people (13%) think intermediaries should make the process easier to understand.

Caoilionn Hurley, Managing Director of Co-op Legal Services said: “Talking about inheritance isn’t easy. However, done in the right way, with information and insight brought by the right technology tools and technical knowledge, estate planning presents a real opportunity for IFAs to add value for existing clients and drive referrals. IFAs work hard to help clients with financial wellbeing, having legal affairs in order is an underpin to financial wellbeing and intergenerational wealth transfer. This presents great opportunities to deliver new services to IFAs and their clients and Coop Legal Services has focused on developing technologies specifically in this space.”

Ends

Media Contacts:

Emily Penkett: Emily.Penkett@coop.co.uk / 07738621201

Maya Powell: Maya.Powell@coop.co.uk / 07773096851

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About Co-op Legal Services

Co-op Legal Services became the first alternative business structure (ABS) in the UK in 2012, and has long been established as a market leader in Probate and estate administration and as one of the leading Will writing businesses in the UK. In April 2018, Co-op acquired Simplify Probate, the UK’s second largest provider of probate, cementing the Co-op’s position as the leading provider of probate in the UK. Simplify Probate, which is part of the Simplify Group of companies, has been a specialist provider of probate and estate administration for more than 25 years and also runs an established Bereavement Advice Centre which provides access to practical bereavement advice online and by telephone. Co-op Legal Services is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

About the Co-op

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and health. It has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 1,000 funeral homes and it provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. It has more than 63,000 colleagues and an annual revenue of over £10 billion.

About the research methodology

This research is based on a consumer and IFA survey ran by YouGov Plc.

The total sample size of consumers was 2143 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th - 11th March 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

The total sample size of IFAs was 207. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 11th March 2020.