From Brexit uncertainty to complex pension rules, there are times when your clients can understandably feel overwhelmed.

You will no doubt touch on a number of common topics during your discussions with clients, but do you really have a gauge on what keeps them up at night?

We were particularly interested to read some insights from a piece of research that was produced by the Financial Times. It was based on a survey of more than 300 readers (69% used a financial adviser and the remainder did not), as well as 41 financial advisers who were interviewed by FTAdviser.

Very handily, the Financial Times has highlighted the 10 most popular topics that respondents wanted to discuss with an adviser. So, without further ado – here they are…

  1. Retirement and pension planning
  2. Tax planning
  3. Brexit/political uncertainty
  4. Inheritance tax
  5. Future financial planning
  6. Investment returns/dividends
  7. Portfolio review/diversification
  8. Global politics/likelihood of market crash
  9. Pension drawdown
  10. Pension transfer
    (Source: Financial Times)

Does this tally with your discussions with clients? Following the introduction of the Pension Freedoms in 2015, it’s interesting to see that ‘pension drawdown’ made it into the top 10. After making headlines for all the wrong reasons last year, the question of whether to transfer out of a final salary pension scheme also made an appearance.

While the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) claims third spot in the list of common client concerns, advisers also highlighted the potential fallout from Brexit as the second most popular question asked by clients. With 71 days left until the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union and no deal with Brussels on the table as yet, this is understandable.

The number one question that Financial Times readers wanted to discuss with their adviser may well strike a chord with you: ‘can I afford to retire?’. A quarter of advisers said this was the first question asked by clients – and this tallies with more than 20% of Financial Times readers citing retirement and pension planning as their top concern.

Financial advice: the obstacles

Have you ever wondered what is holding some people back from appointing an adviser? The Financial Times’ research also sheds some light on this topic.

It found that 32% of respondents did not use an adviser because they were happy to manage their own investments. Meanwhile, 23% wanted an adviser but didn’t know where to find someone they could trust. See the full table below:

Client satisfaction

It’s always nice to end on a positive note: many of you will be pleased to read that 79% of respondents who used a financial adviser said they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the service.

While this should be cheered, the final point we want to highlight from the research was the finding that 57% of this sub-segment have changed their adviser in the past. This suggests that advisers cannot rest on their laurels: they must try to deliver the best possible service to clients in the future.