Shifts in welfare policy over the last forty years towards a greater neo-liberal stance have resulted in citizens needing to take greater responsibility for their finances (Rowlingson 2000; Strauss 2008; Sherraden and Ansong 2016). This coupled with low levels of financial capability across the UK population and consumers trying to make informed decisions from this low knowledge base (Sandler 2002; FSA 2004, 2006; Thoreson 2007, 2008; Arthur 2016; Stillwell 2016) suggests a growing need to understand the barriers that consumers face regarding access to financial advice. This paper argues that barriers preventing access to financial advice are not yet adequately understood. To build understanding three variables are explored, namely knowledge, trust and affordability/cost that are shown to affect consumers’ ability to access regulated financial advice. From these variables emerged the ideas that financial advice needed to be considered the ‘subjective norm’ and that ‘trust heuristics’, as a route to advice had certain embedded risks. As part of the research process a ‘Financial Advice Belief Model’ was developed as a tool to explore these variables more deeply and help interested stakeholders better understand factors that create barriers and may prevent consumers from seeking effective financial advice. Addressing these factors, we use the case of the UK to illustrate possible ways forward and argue that the findings could apply in other developed country settings. Further, these three key variables affecting access to needed financial services should be a key consideration for the UK’s Money and Pensions Service as it looks to develop a wider focus on financial well-being as the core of its strategy for UK citizens in need of financial guidance.
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Moss, J., Rowlingson, K. & Lymer, A. Exploring the barriers to accessing personal financial planning advice. J Financ Serv Mark (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41264-022-00180-x
- Holistic financial advice
- Personal finance
- Financial advice belief model
- Bounded rationality