Back to February 2014

We like straight-talking financial advice, savers tell LBS

A year after the number of high street financial advisers was decimated, Leeds Building Society is seeing an increasing number of customers seeking help with financial planning.

And the message from customers is that straight-talking advice and a lack of pressure to buy are the key priorities for savers wanting a home for their nest egg.

Leeds Building Society, which is one of the few high street providers to continue to offer face-to-face financial advice, has seen a rise in the number of customer appointments month on month since the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) came into force at the start of 2013.

The Society, the UK’s fifth largest building society, offers financial advice through its national network of branches in partnership with Legal & General (L&G).

RDR fundamentally changed access to and the availability of financial advice on the high street and Kim Rebecchi, Sales and Marketing Director at Leeds Building Society, said the changes were helping to restore confidence in the advice process.

Society customers who received financial advice were asked what was most important to them when seeking out this service. They said:

  • Advisers using clear and simple language, avoiding “gobbledygook”, was the top priority, favoured by 43%
  • About one in four (25.75%) felt a lack of pressure to buy a financial product was the most important aspect of their experience
  • One in seven wanted to be able to invest in small, manageable amounts

Kim Rebecchi said: “At the start of 2013 we could not have predicted the scale of withdrawal from the market by many of the large High Street banks, which clearly disadvantaged smaller investors and left the majority of adults without easy access to quality advice.

“As a savings provider helping ordinary people we felt we should continue to offer straightforward financial advice to anyone who needed it and, at a time when many other high street institutions were turning their backs on this type of service, Leeds Building Society’s Board took the decision that we should continue to offer an advice service that complements our traditional building society savings accounts.

“We don’t exclude any customer based on the size of their investment and, as our service only incurs a charge where people buy, I am happy that customers have access to this valuable information without the pressure of feeling they have got to buy as they have paid up-front for a service.

“We’re finding the majority of customers who buy a product from an L&G adviser based at a Leeds Building Society branch choose to receive additional support and sign up for the ‘ongoing advice service’, meaning they receive regular personal financial reports and their consultant reviews their investments twice a year, or more often if they require.

“Customers also have access to their own Personal Finance Portal which means they can review up-to-date information on their investments online at any time.”


Notes to Editors

Leeds Building Society has 67 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland and assets of £10.8bn (as at 30 June 2013). The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.