Monday, 11 March 2019 10:09

Editor’s Comment: Time for more Pete Matthews…

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Financial Planning Today Editor Kevin O'Donnell Financial Planning Today Editor Kevin O'Donnell

One of the greatest challenges for Financial Planning in the long term is how to reach the millions who have never heard of Financial Planning or have only a vague idea of what it is and its value. The estimable Pete Matthew, an entrepreneurial Chartered and Certified Financial Planner, may be showing one important way forward.

As we report here - Money podcaster Pete Matthew seals 7IM partnership - Pete has teamed up with platform 7IM to take his successful Meaningful Money financial education website to the next level, allowing users to invest as well as view his videos and guidance on personal Financial Planning.

It is believed to be the first ‘introducer’ arrangement of its kind between an investment manager and an independent web podcaster. While potential conflicts of interest will need to be carefully managed Pete’s business acumen in spotting an opportunity here is second to none.

And why shouldn’t a planner who gives up valuable hours of his time to help people understand personal finance also offer consumers a chance to take their first steps in investing too? There is an obvious synergy here.

For many consumers Pete provides that invaluable first step in helping answer the question many consumers have: ‘where on earth do I get started?’

Pete, who is managing director of Chartered Financial Planning firm Jacksons in Penzance, Cornwall, has been running his Meaningful Money website for seven years and 7IM has been a sponsor almost since the start.

At first, I’m sure, it was a bit of a hobby for Pete but he has gradually become more serious, and successful, as interest as grown. He strives for a friendly, down to earth approach, updating users on personal finance topics and avoiding the jargon. He passes on tips, ideas and money education help and the site is professional and the content is impressive.

He began in 2012 and his hobby, once no doubt scoffed at by some, has become a hit, becoming a valuable regular source of much-neeed information for many people. He has produced nearly 300 videos since and now receives almost 100,000 downloads a month. Since 2012 his audio and video podcasts have been downloaded over 2m times.

He has found good new clients via Meaningful Money and has been generous in passing on his experiences to fellow Financial Planners.

The success of his venture, and congrats to Pete on making it work, shows one route forward for Financial Planners, providing a chance to break out of the ‘cottage industry’ approach still apparent in some parts of the profession.

While consolidation is producing bigger and more professional Financial Planning firms, it is still difficult to see how professional Financial Planning can ever be accessible to the vast majority of the UK population given the difficulty in finding a planner and the hurdle of fees that often start at £150 or £200 an hour.

Pete’s approach offers valuable guidance from a highly experienced Financial Planner and takes the ‘interested’ Google browser to the next step of learning more and taking action to save, invest or improve their protection of their loved ones.

Not all planners will have the time or the willingness to follow Pete but many are already showing interest in using social media. In addition, planner websites are getting better, more planners are running podcasts and more are trying out direct-to-consumer ideas. More Pete Matthews may well be on the way.

This is all very encouraging and underlines the creativity and flexibility apparent in the Financial Planning sector in grasping the power of the internet to reach a much wider audience and spread the word.

There will be more ‘Meaningful Money’s and not all will work but it’s clear this one is.

 


Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with over 30 years of experience. He previously worked for the Financial Times Group and in daily and weekly regional newspapers. 

• PS, I’m taking part in a sponsored 10k midnight walk around Manchester to raise cash for St Ann's Hospice which provides outstanding care for terminally and serious ill people. Find out why and donate here: bit.ly/2Er343F

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Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2019 11:09
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