Thanks to L&G’s Peter Smith for forwarding us the guidance note on VAT which we have posted below. Although we certainly don’t hold ourselves out to be VAT experts it seems to us as though on the one hand, we have the Government telling us to save responsibly because they won’t look after us when we’re old and knackered, the FSA moving us away from the “set and forget” mentality created by upfront fees and towards transparent, ongoing service...... then on the other hand this news which seems to say pay your adviser everything upfront or get slapped with VAT on top. Peter has indicated he is happy to take any questions our readers might have around this and it’s certainly a vitally important piece of the future equation.
This feels like another factor making life harder for IFAs and may be a further element which leads some customers and IFAs down the restricted advice channel, away from the wealth management space at the other extreme. There’s certainly room for platforms to service both segments and it feels to us as though opportunities are being missed in the mass affluent space. Standard’s announcement this week about their guided architecture plans seems to play to this crowd with their plans to also deliver “simpler, more appropriate investment solutions.” It’s de rigeur to sneer at guided architecture but I think it has a role. Not everyone needs an offshore bond and spicy funds.