Necessary Evil

A Necessary Evil? ( The need for financial Advisers )

There are a range of occupations that provide services we all need,

whether we enjoy or like them or not. I am not sure anyone enjoys the bi-annual trip to the dentist, the visit to a garage for the MOT , organising insurance, discussions with the bank about mortgages or overdrafts,  eye tests/ doctor’s check-ups or the visit to the lawyer for required advice. So, my question is, where do financial advisers fit in and are they a necessary evil?

There was an article in a well-known broadsheet recently that tried to provide guidance on how to differentiate between genuine financial advisers and sharks; the resulting comments from the public seemed to suggest that financial advisers are not needed at all. In fact, the best response on how to recognise a shark was on Twitter “He has two dorsal fins and insists you conduct all your meetings underwater”

Financial advisers, unlike sharks, will not seek to suggest that you have to take an action that results in a “new financial product” being purchased. They are not always going to look to get their hands on your money or, for example, recommend the latest “clever esoteric” investment available, like teak plantations in some jungle in the Southern Hemisphere.

The modern financial adviser should in fact be a financial planner who assists in clarifying your objectives and how you can achieve them without making an investment change, as a lot of the advice has nothing to do with the actual investments themselves.

Using pensions as an example, financial advisers advising expats need to look at current residency, visas, retirement residency, domicility, double tax treaties, currency risk, country specific current pensions legislation, pre 2006 UK pension regimes, taxation of capital and income and consider where possible, local taxes. The list may include, but is not comprehensive, some of the following; cashflows, budgeting, local annuity rules, decumulation advice and sustainability of income, critical yield analysis, succession planning and trusts.

We have not even mentioned investments yet! So, genuine financial advisers provide more than just investment advice and, due to the complexity of all of these issues, investors realise that to save themselves a lot of problems later,  decent financial advisers are necessary and may not be “evil” at all!

Sharks are dangerous and some sharks pretend to be financial advisers. This gives a bad name and reputation to all financial advisers, whereas not all financial advisers are out to eat their clients. Due diligence on financial advisers by members of the public is vital, and it has to go beyond just looking at whether they are “registered in the UK with the CII or FCA”.

Financial advisers that want nothing to do with the shark infested waters of the incompetents and scammers will be happy to provide all the help the public need with this due diligence, and assist with due diligence on other third party claims.


The views expressed in this article are not to be construed as personal advice. You should contact a qualified and ideally regulated adviser in order to obtain up to date personal advice with regard to your own personal circumstances. If you do not then you are acting under your own authority and deemed “execution only”. The author does not except any liability for people acting without personalised advice, who base a decision on views expressed in this generic article. Where this article is dated then it is based on legislation as of the date. Legislation changes but articles are rarely updated, although sometimes a new article is written; so, please check for later articles or changes in legislation on official government websites, as this article should not be relied on in isolation.


Chris Lean

Chris is a Chartered Financial Planner who writes blogs and articles to simplify and explain some of the financial issues that affect UK expats. Subjects include; hot topics, regulation and the ever-changing world of finance.

Necessary Evil
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