UK accountants have experienced a sharp rise in demand for financial advice over the past 12 months, according to new research from Investec Wealth & Investment.
The research found that more than a third (37 per cent) of accountants had experienced an increase in demand for advice about finance during the previous 12 months.
A large majority (75 per cent) of those surveyed said that they were asked for advice on pensions, while close to 60 per cent of the sample were asked to give advice about inheritance tax planning. Around 40 per cent of the queries related specifically to income and capital gains tax on investments, windfalls and potential investment opportunities.
The accountants reported that the reasons for the increase in demand by clients for financial advice related to a heightened awareness of inheritance planning (70 per cent), a rise in client liquid assets (39 per cent) and an increase in property transactions among clients (33 per cent).
With more than two thirds (69 per cent) of respondents saying they referred clients seeking financial advice to a financial adviser, accountants have to be confident that their clients will be given the highest quality advice. One in five (20 per cent) said they provided the advice themselves. A further 4 per cent said they referred them to someone other than a financial adviser, with 6 per cent declining to help their clients.
Chris Aitken, Head of Financial Planning at Investec Wealth & Investment, says: “For many with complicated financial affairs, an accountant is often the first port of call for advice on investments, especially if there are questions about tax that need to be clarified. High property prices with their impact on inheritance tax and the changes to the pension regime have added to the trend, so it is unsurprising that accountants are increasingly being asked questions about financial planning. It is very important for accountants to have access to trusted partners bearing in mind the change in the regulatory landscape and constantly evolving legislation.”