Unbiased has reviewed its charging plans amid a great deal of controversy. Two titles NMA and Professional Adviser have arguably made the running in the story and we look at it in some detail below.
There is an excellent assessment of the new pricing plans from the Yardstick's Phil Bray, here on New Model Adviser.
By and large, Bray welcomes the shakeup but with a couple of important provisos. The two legacy plans Lite and Plus continue, but, he warns advisers, once you leave you cannot go back. In the case of the Plus plan therefore you would lose the benefit of offsetting the cost of the first inquiry against the subscription.
Bray is also concerned about one aspect of the Enterprise plan for national IFA firms though there has also been one improvement in terms of placement of listings. We quote his piece at length -
“Firms who select the Enterprise level will get an ‘enhanced directory listing for even greater business profile promotion.’ Unbiased has confirmed to us that these listings will gain no priority in positioning, which was the case with Location Plus. However, listings for Enterprise level firms will be designed to highlight their profile.
“Our verdict: We look forward to seeing the differences between Enterprise profiles and others. However, the concept makes us extremely nervous."
He makes two further points.
1) We fear it will alienate smaller firms.
2) It isn’t “unbiased”.
It is interesting to see Bray in another title Professional Adviser suggesting that Unbiased build bridges with the adviser community but what has happened to lead to a need for such a call?
the answer is also in Professional Adviser. HK Wealth Managers managing director Garry Hale says he had a totally unacceptable experience complaining about a very poor quality lead which was obviously spam, suggesting a refund, being offered a token and then being told over social media that Unbiased wanted to end the relationship.
There is a lot of ill feeling over this from many advisers and planners as any trawl of social media will demonstrate.
Not sure this quote from the service is quite the best thought out.
"What we can say is that the length of time Garry has been with us is testament to how well we nurture our relationships with our customers, many of whom have been with us for a number of years."
Professional Adviser also reports that it is still seeing confusion on the website around Chartered status with firms confusing having advisers who have the chartered qualification with the firm's status.
You could argue that this issue should have been addressed when Which? first raised the issue in 2017 and long before the big price overhaul. This reviewer thinks it very much leaves them exposed.
In other news, the FCA is consulting on plans to delay the SM&CR until the end of March. It will begin adding information about certified employees from 9th December as planned. Not sure that is the ideal solution.
Katharine Arthur a partner at acountants Haysmacintyre asks whether the just announced review of Capital Gains Tax is overdue.
The COVID-19 crisis has not cut the valuations for IFA businesses reports Money Marketing.