Soft skills crucial to meet intergenerational planning demands

‘Ability of the adviser to address and tackle the core issues of vulnerable clients and family disputes will be vital’


Advice firms have the chance to increase their business opportunities due to the rising demand of intergenerational financial planning as the great wealth transfer continues to take effect.

According to research by analytics firm AKG, 54% of UK advisers say demand for intergenerational planning has grown in the past year, with 8% saying it has increased significantly.

This rises to 88% when asked about demand over the next five years, with 25% expecting significant growth.

AKG’s research also found 59% of advisers believe greater awareness of the impact of inheritance tax is driving demand from clients, while 40% said changes in pension laws to make funds more attractive as a way of passing on wealth is adding to the growth in demand.

However, more than two-in-five (42%) said they are now proactively discussing the issue with clients and 29% said the pandemic has increased interest in inheritance planning and financial reviews.


The expansion in demand, however, will mean change for advisers, the study found.

Some 44% are concerned about potential family disputes.

Also, 38% are worried about possible vulnerable client concerns and 24% admit a lack of expertise in legal issues.

Matt Ward, AKG communications director, said: “The development of training and compliance modules within firms which support and enhance the ability of the adviser to address and tackle the core issues of vulnerable clients and family disputes will be vital.

“Similarly aligned processes which continue to maintain best practice and ensure the recording of all interaction and issues will be needed to provide solid audit trails.

“There is also a requirement for development of empathic relationship and soft questioning skills, and a need to broaden factfinding to bring family hierarchy, goals and issues into play.”


Sean Christian, managing director and executive director of wealth management division at Canada Life, said: “Intergenerational wealth planning presents a huge opportunity, but it isn’t an open goal. Wealth accumulated in property and other assets will reach trillions of pounds in the coming decades and advisers will need to have strategies to manage this wealth through the generations.

“Investing in softer skills, working closely with providers who offer holistic solutions, and keeping up to speed with the technical aspects of trusts and estate planning will keep advisers one step ahead.”

Sean Osborne, group head of sales at Charles Stanley, added: “The reasons why families are reluctant to have open conversations about intergenerational wealth planning are obvious. Many do not want to think about the loss of loved ones – and the fear of bringing conflict into the family is a real deterrent.

“However, the pandemic has started to change this – acting as a catalyst for these conversations as people look at the uncertainties the future may hold. Now feels an ideal opportunity to engage with families around some of the key planning opportunities to secure their own and their family’s future.”

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