Press release by Bower Private Clients – Accountants are becoming concerned that growing demand for personal financial advice from clients is putting them at risk of exceeding their professional expertise, according to new research1 from high net worth retirement lending adviser Bower Private Clients.

Its study found that nearly two in four (36%) accountants had experienced an increase in demand for advice about personal finance from clients in the past 12 months with help on inheritance planning one of the major sources of inquiries.

However the growth in demand is causing concern – nearly a third (31%) of accountants say they are worried that some of the advice they are giving goes beyond their core expertise. Worryingly 6% of accountants said they have provided detailed financial advice themselves

The research showed that nearly half (45%) of accountants believe their work with independent financial advisers will increase over the next 24 months as a result of recent changes to pension rules.

But the biggest driver is a need for inheritance planning – 72% of accountants say inheritance advice is a major area while a growing client base (59%) and an increase in property transactions among clients (31%) were other major reasons. A third (33%) of accountants received enquiries on accessing property wealth and equity release from clients.

Bower Private Clients is anticipating a surge in demand for specialist advice and bespoke solutions for retired homeowners who need to maximise their property assets.

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Andrea Rozario, Chief Corporate Officer at Bower Private Clients said: "It’s no wonder that accountants are seeing clients increasingly enquiring about financial planning given the recent changes in pensions, high property prices and the complex nature of estate planning. The wealth tied up in homes is a potential source of retirement funding but people need to be properly advised.

"Given more demand for advice in what is an increasingly complex market, it is very important for accountants to have access to trusted partners. Advisers recognise that property wealth can offer a variety of solutions for their clients."

The research found 78% of accountants say pension advice is as an area where clients were looking for help. Income and capital gains tax mitigation (61%); inheritance tax planning (60%); and managing a windfall event (40%) were second, third and fourth respectively in terms of most popular financial advice enquiries for accountants.

Bower is working with private banks, accountants and law firms and offers specialist underwriting for high net worth clients as more expensive properties can be freeholds or leaseholds which may need specialist surveys. Its advisers are able to provide a bespoke service with solutions tailored for individual customers.