Well this is exciting. Mark is off for a few days, so they’ve let me loose on the Update.

The big industry news this week is that Standard Life Aberdeen is changing its name to Abrdn. Money Marketing has all the details, and Twitter has all the reaction. So rather than go over all that, I’m going to write about the advice gap instead.

For the last couple of years, we’ve been working with OpenMoney on its advice gap report, which looks at the state of the nation’s finances and the need for financial advice. At the start of March, we repeated some of this research, concentrating on the financial impact of the pandemic one year on.

There’s lots to be encouraged about. Overall, more households have been able to reduce debt; those with no outstanding debt increased from 34% in 2020 to 38% in 2021. In general, people have been able to pay down money borrowed on credit cards, authorised overdrafts and personal loans.

But the research also highlighted a real disparity between the financial security of those aged 34 and under and those aged over 35. Nearly half (44%) of 18- to 34-year-olds have run out of money before they get paid, compared to just under a third (31%) of those aged over 35. A third (32%) of the under 35s have used short term credit to pay for something in the last year because they didn’t have enough money at the time, compared to a quarter (25%) of the older group. A third (34%) of the younger group have borrowed money from friends and family to cover day-to-day expenses, which is more than double the number (16%) aged over 35 who have done so.

The latest Office for National Statistics figures show that the under 35s have been worst affected by Covid-19 job losses. The financial vulnerability of this age group could mean that further redundancies and unemployment when the Government furlough scheme ends later this year will push more people into real hardship.

Financial advisers don’t tend to work at this end of the spectrum, which begs the question where should people go for help with managing money and financial planning when they don’t fit the traditional advice model? Last week, Mark talked about Vanguard’s launch into advice, but as Professional Adviser’s Sophie King explains, the service isn’t suitable for everyone, including those with less than £50,000 to invest.

Maybe Vanguard’s entry into the sector will encourage others to launch low-cost options aimed at those with lower investible assets. Whatever happens, it certainly doesn’t feel like the advice gap is going to close any time soon.

DOWN WITH THE LINKS

Jenette