There’s a new directory on the block.
Launched by Boring Money, it will give financial advisers and planners another way to connect with consumers.
We’re always keen to bring you the latest news when it comes to directories, so we caught up with Anna Stoughton, Relationship Manager at Boring Money, to find out more. After Anna’s interview, you can read our verdict on the latest addition to the directory market.
You can also visit the Boring Money directory by clicking here.
Yardstick: What are Boring Money’s key aims?
Boring Money: Quite simply, to help consumers find the right help and advice they need when it comes to investing and making a financial plan.
Some people already know they want full-fat advice, DIY investing or something in-between. But there isn’t much of a triage process for those people that aren’t sure. That’s where Boring Money Advice comes in. We are channel-agnostic – we don’t mind if people take the advised route or not, we just want them to have the tools to make an informed choice about which sort of service they want.
Yardstick: What are your aims by setting up the directory section of your website?
Boring Money: To help break down barriers between advisers and investors. Most people aren’t sure what an adviser does, how they can help and when to speak to an adviser. Crucially, they struggle to know how to find someone they can trust unless they get a recommendation from friends and family.
By helping advisers build their profile, engage with real people through the Q+A forum and showcase their expertise, we’re helping to demystify advice. This is an open forum where anyone can come and see what advisers have to say and get to know them a little bit. Some of our readers will then go on to become a client of one of those advisers.
Yardstick: You will naturally be positioned as a challenger to the existing directories, what makes you different?
Boring Money: Lots of things!
Most adviser directories are positioned for someone that has decided they want to speak to an adviser. But that doesn’t necessarily work for people who aren’t sure what kind of service they want yet. So many people tell us they just don’t know where to start so we want to help them learn first, and get to a position where they can make a more confident, informed decision.
That’s why we are content-led with questions from real people in an open forum. We want people to get a feel for the sorts of things other people are worried about, realise they aren’t alone in their concerns and queries, and then learn about the things advisers can help with. It is a user experience that is much more about learning, rather than a purely transactional function of helping connect users with a local adviser.
We’re also not overly reliant on postcode-based search. Obviously, finding a local adviser is an option through the site – trust is key and for a lot of people they need face to face contact to develop that – but we want to give people all the options. So other solutions, like digital options, have to be part of the mix. That means building a more detailed picture of what services people want, rather than just asking for a postcode and matching them to local firms.
Lastly, we’re agnostic about the channel people choose. DIY investing, fully advised or robo – all of them are OK with us. We just want to help people make an informed choice that is right for them.
Yardstick: Why is now the right time to launch a new directory?
Boring Money: Readers are constantly asking us for help – it is clear that consumer need isn’t being fully met at the moment. And with so many new choices out there for consumers, particularly those services which incorporate digital, we think it is really important to have a tool that reflects the full range of options available to people.
Yardstick: How many advisers/planners do you currently have listed, and do you have a target for the future?
Boring Money: We wanted to start with a pilot phase with a relatively small group and registered just over 60 advisers during that period. We anticipate having around 300 by the end of the year as we transition the service to our main site and continue growing from there.
Yardstick: What are the key benefits to advisers/planners of being listed on the website?
Boring Money: We all know trust is absolutely critical. Consumers find it hard to know who to trust and for advisers, it isn’t easy to get proper, independent validation. Boring Money Advice gives advisers the opportunity to earn trust in new ways by showcasing their expertise, building their profile and reviews. Because the Q+A forum is publicly available, that affords a sense of trust and credibility – nothing is hidden so prospective clients know they’re dealing with someone that is willing to showcase themselves in a transparent, public space.
Yardstick: How can an adviser/planner get listed?
Boring Money: Just get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll guide you through the process.
Yardstick: What are the costs for getting listed?
Boring Money: During the pilot phase, we didn’t pass on any costs to advisers. We’re now speaking to them about a suitable model and are looking at a subscription of around £15 per month and a modest fee for referrals.
Yardstick: What checks do you undertake before allowing a new adviser/planner to list on the website?
Boring Money: We review the FCA register to ensure the adviser is authorised to provide financial advice.
Yardstick: What are your key strategies for driving traffic to the Boring Money website and, more specifically, the directory?
Boring Money: We’re already on track to hit 1 million unique users this year, and 80% of our traffic comes from people that are researching financial products, so advisers are getting access to a sizeable audience of people that want to learn more about investing and money. We already have established relationships with DIY platforms and robos and our site is one of the biggest generators of new business for many of them so we’re now looking to offer something similar to advisers.
We’ve got some exciting plans in the pipeline too. This includes targeted promotions aimed at those people we are receptive to taking financial advice. That promotional activity is really focused on leveraging our user-generated content. For example, we can use Q+A forum posts to attract people with similar concerns, and that way we’re inviting them to be part of a community and a conversation with like-minded people. That is crucial because it helps them relate and understand how advice might work for them.
Yardstick: What checks do you undertake to ensure that reviews are from genuine clients?
Boring Money: This is really important to us – for both advisers and consumers to rely on the website, it is essential that reviews are genuine. Every review has to go through our dashboard – where there is a dispute we’ll intervene and the consumer will be required to provide evidence that they were a client.
The content-led approach is fascinating and is certainly different to other directories.
To be successful in its aim, Boring Money will need to attract both advisers and consumers. They’re on track for over one million unique consumer visits this year which is a promising start on that front. The next step is to attract advisers and planners who are willing to invest their time answering consumers’ questions.
Aside from that laudable endeavour, most advisers and planners will calculate their return on investment by comparing fees received with the time and money spent on the platform.
It’ll be fascinating to see the final commercial model and understand where the “modest fee for referrals” will be set. That said, there will always be value in answering consumers’ questions; experience elsewhere tells us that many consumers take their enquiry off the directory, Googling the adviser/planner/firm and then making direct contact.
Given the issues we’ve seen elsewhere, we’d like to see Boring Money make wider checks on adviser qualifications and accreditations than simply checking the FCA Register. Furthermore, given VouchedFor’s dominant position it’ll also be interesting to see how Boring Money develops the review side of their proposition.
All in all, we love the content-led approach, it’s great to see more choice for consumers as well as advisers and planners. There’s a huge amount to be positive about and we look forward to seeing how things develop.
You can visit the Boring Money directory by clicking here.