There is a place for advisor directories but they need to change
It’s hard to say for sure whether or not an advisor should register with various directories of direct-to-consumer advisors, such as Unbiased and VouchedFor.
Any website that helps the consumer access good, independent financial advice deserves a round of applause.
In the age of online scams, it is good to know that there are platforms that will endeavor to connect a consumer with a need with a professional who has the required knowledge in this area.
Each consulting firm has a slightly different business model, and so whether they should market themselves on these platforms will depend on whether it’s a team of consultants who need a steady supply of leads – most Established consultants don’t, but there may be companies that need to explore different marketing opportunities in order to keep teams busy.
Directories can also be a very useful tool for new advisers who may not yet have built up a large enough bank of clients.
As we know, the larger and more mature a client bank is, the more independent the advisor becomes.
We have used Unbiased in the past and initially had a very positive experience.
We joined in early 2016 and 12 months later had seen significant ROI, generating revenue well over 10x our capital expenditure.
This continued through 2017, although at a slightly reduced rate. Starting in 2018, we started to see a deterioration in the quality of incoming inquiries.
We persevered but there didn’t seem to be any material improvement in enquiries, which, coupled with rising costs and overly complex process, led us to cancel our subscription six months ago. .
Unbiased increased the cost of inquiries and tokens to £45 in 2019 and introduced a new subscription service in 2020, which gave advisors four options, suitable for businesses at different stages of their development.
But I think where Unbiased went wrong was a general dumbing down of inquiries.
More often than not, the information we received through the website was of such poor quality that it made the Academic Manager purchase.
For what is for all intents and purposes a tech website, they should have been able to prevent unnecessary and unrealistic requests from getting through, saving everyone time and effort.
Unbiased offered future credit for such surveys, but it was never enough to keep us engaged with the platform.
I think there is a place for directories like these, but I would like to see them changed significantly to ensure that inquiries are of sufficient quality to warrant keeping an eye out for inquiry notifications information and financial expenses.