With the sixth annual Financial Planning Week now in full swing, we take a look at what three participating advice firms are up to.
Financial Planning Week (FPW) is the Institute of Financial Planning's (IFP) annual consumer awareness campaign which seeks to "create as much consumer awareness as possible about the importance of financial planning".
Many advisers have joined the action this year -which kicked-off on Sunday (24 November) and runs until 1 December - banging the drum for their profession in increasingly innovative ways, trying to show consumers the merits of linking their financial decisions now with their future.
"The key thing is if we can get people to re-link their actions now with their future then behaviour will change massively," said Steve Martin, director at Smart Financial Planning.
What your peers are doing for Financial Planning Week
Having participated last year, this year his firm will get involved in a raft of new activities, from joining a live interview on Twitter, which seeks to "answer complex financial questions in exactly 140 characters", to opening its doors to consumers and introducing them to the world of personalised financial planning for free.
"The beauty of financial planning week is that we don't charge for stuff, we can open up a bit more broadly and hopefully get some of those principles out there," Martin said.
His campaign this year also includes an outreach program which will see his firm venture into other professional services businesses to "try and get other professionals to think beyond their nose".
Martin explained that financial planners have a lot to offer other professionals in terms of how to service and engage clients. "As financial planners we, in many cases, have moved a long way ahead from a client servicing point of view than these guys have.
"They are still often quite transactional, they have a lot of challenges around their charging and they are being pressured by online services. We are going to try and share some of the stuff that we've done around that, how we work with clients to add value."
Martin said to be part of FPW was very important to him."We spend a lot of time preaching about how important financial planning is as part of a sales and marketing message and actually this is our opportunity to demonstrate that we genuinely believe it," he said.
Fellow IFA Penguin Wealth is also opening its doors to the public this year while making available some of its staff to"four key contacts of the business". However, the thing that financial planner Craig Palfrey is "most excited about" is the launch of Penguin's new website 'Increase your pension'.
The site is dedicated to "helping educate the mass market who have been cut off from advice" and its launch was brought forward to Friday, to coincide with FPW, Palfrey said.
Principal Financial Solutions director Chris Daems has his own view on how to best spread awareness among consumers.
This year, his firm has entered a number of feature programmes, offering insights of a more soul-searching nature.
One of the features highlights the top financial mistakes planners make. "Effectively what I wanted to do is just do something where we talk about the five financial mistakes that everybody makes and what to do to avoid them," Daems said.
He added an example would be: "It's easy to try and keep up with the Jones' in terms of the buying stuff when in actual fact you don't know what their financial situation is, they could just be using lots of debt to buy that stuff."
His firm also put together a playful take on the meaning of financial planning from a kid's perspective.
The outcome included questions about the meaning of ‘rich' and what it means to be ‘stable with money'.
"What we've found with the questions that we get from kids, is the answers are quite useful for everybody but only kids would ask those questions," Daems said.
He added: "Every time I do something I try to make it different enough to have an impact and just give a different perspective on the world of financial planning and just to try and help to explain that we are actually human trying to help people live more financial free lives."
He also said the campaign was "fundamentally important".
"We've come to think that what we do is about products and actually the important stuff isn't about a product at all. If I never ever sell a product again I'll be cool with that and I can still add value. The important bit is the plan and getting somebody along that journey."
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