At Platforum we examined intergenerational financial planning in one long-established wealth management firm – Charles Stanley – where they have numerous examples of looking after five or six generations and more.

Platforum researched and wrote the Book of Stories for Charles Stanley to help advisers be more successful in intergenerational planning. We are delighted to report that it won the Best Investment Marketing Campaign (retail) of the Year at The Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards. The judges described it as ‘engaging content for a tough audience that generated results that were well activated,’ and the initiative was also shortlisted in Best Thought Leadership Campaign.

The fact is that family money has become far more important in determining the finances and even the life chances of younger generations.

  • Housing is perhaps the most crucial factor when the bank of mum and dad – or grandpa and grandma – can now make all the difference: some 40 years ago in 1980, house prices were less than four times average national income. Now in 2019, they are over seven times average national income.
  • Then there’s estate planning. Saving inheritance tax is still important, but nowadays, making lifetime transfers has become the more central aim – especially for richer clients who want to benefit children and grandchildren during their lifetimes.
  • Education costs have shot up. 40 years ago, university education was more or less free; now it would be quite normal for students to end up with debts of at least £50,000 together with hefty interest payments. School fees are seriously expensive as foreign parents snap up the perceived benefits of British private education, pushing fees up far faster than UK earnings have increased – though the pandemic might have suppressed that trend for a while.

Intergenerational planning can be really effective for adviser firms, although it will mean their having to change some of their business practices. Advisers who can demonstrate successful client retention across successive generations will have a business worth buying, whether they are aiming to sell to the next generation of planners in their business or via a trade sale.