How often do we come back from holiday and complain about the quality of customer service we receive when we return? Fascinating. Yet somehow we continue to experience this customer service and accept it.
None is truer than the financial services industry and our ability to make more money from our customers than for our customers.
Some aspects of financial services have not moved on, while others have catapulted, but investors have been left behind and are unaware of how they could be saving thousands and thousands of pounds by investing more wisely. The resemblance with the motor industry is amazing. Let me explain:
I remember back in 1909 when I had dark hair and Henry Ford realised if he was to make cars affordable to everyone that a moving assembly line was the way forward.
His goal at the time was to 'build a car for the multitude' and he indeed managed 15 million model T cars. The time taken to build a chassis moved from 12 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour and 22 minutes.
In 1914 he built more cars than all other 299 car manufacturers. And so the need of the customer was met. Colour wasn't an issue and customers could have any colour of car as long as it was black. And slowly the needs of customers changed. They no longer needed a car, they needed different 'things' in cars and different colours.
19 years after the first model T, the product dwindled as the producer continued with the same product.
Today the Fiat 500 has thousands of designs, all inputted by designers and customers. The producer no longer dictates the product, the customer does. Most companies now allow customers the ability to design and configure online. In fact, I have configured my last two cars online.
Why has the financial services industry been so slow in creating the future? Today, banks have such a monopoly on lending that they can charge what they like. However, it is on the investment side that customers are losing out considerably.
We are often approached by insurance companies who tell us they have 'spoken to the public and that investors want x'. Yet, we can never find anyone who has ever spoken to an insurance company or indeed any who want 'x'.
It is clearly a product designed with the producer in mind rather than the customer.
But the producer should no longer be dictating design, price or delivery of financial solutions.
That is why it is peculiar that so many people buy through the expensive, poor service, retail world.
Today investment bonds can still cost circa 11% in opaque charges with circa 7% commission and ISAs/unit trusts are still costing 5.25% in a retail world.
Investors who use an Independent Financial Adviser who utilises an investment wrap account will be accessing all these investments at a near zero cost. Furthermore, every time the adviser manages the money or moves the investment in a retail world, there are a new set of product charges to hammer the investor, so over the life of a retail bank managing the capital, there would be thousands wasted in unnecessary charges.
The investment wrap account will also allow the investor to review their capital online immediately and make any changes to their investments without expensive meetings. No longer do you have to wait for an annual review when money can be managed instantaneously.
But most importantly, investors shunning the Model T Ford approach won't have to pay for expensive versions of the funds they are buying because of the expensive non-moving production line that is the administrative processes of the financial services world.
Investors can now buy the right investments at the right price and ensure their money is managed daily rather than annually.
And it all came around when someone had the foresight to think 'I wonder what the customer wants'.
If you would like a demonstration on how to hold your investments and pensions on your own wrap account and save you money call Peter on 0845 230 9876, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at our website www.wwfp.net.
The value of shares and investments can go down as well as up.
Peter McGahan is an Independent Financial Adviser and the Managing Director of Worldwide Financial Planning Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. 'The FSA does not regulate Credit Cards, Will Writing and some forms of mortgage and Inheritance Tax Planning.'