Richard Caldicott: ‘It’s client first, every time’

Hargreaves Lansdown’s financial advice & guidance director on making finance and investment more accessible, inclusive and engaging for clients

Richard Caldicott, financial advice & guidance director at Hargreaves Lansdown

Q: What is the biggest change you have seen in the wealth management sector since you joined?

I joined the industry just before RDR, which threw the focus on advice rather than sales. It boosted professional standards and moved the industry towards proper planning.

While some things have changed significantly, however, an awful lot hasn’t changed at all.

The industry is still wedded to doing things the way they have always been done, rather than really thinking about how advice can become more accessible and inclusive.

The move away from defined benefit pensions and the development of pensions freedoms has made people far more accountable for their own financial health and, as an industry, we have not done nearly enough to get them the help they need.

The industry is still focused on the affluent client, so the advice gap hasn’t closed.

If you compare advice to almost any other industry, the embracing of tech and the digital client experience lags notably. As a result, for the mass-affluent, the delivery of advice is inefficient and expensive – plus it’s not particularly engaging.

Q: What is the investment topic most often brought up by your clients these days?

HL is a little different in that almost all of our advice clients start off self-investing. They tend to need advice in the moments that matter, such as when they start thinking about retirement, or during ill health or bereavement.

They often want advice at a specific time and then go back to managing their own investments.

Read the full interview in Portfolio Adviser’s May 2023 magazine.

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