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Advisers faced with providing ‘always-on’ service as clients demand more support outside of the traditional 9-5

  • A third (33%) of financial advisers say that clients want more contact with them out of traditional working hours, whilst 16% of consumers admit they want support at a time that suits them
  • More than a third (35%) say clients want to meet more frequently and have more contact time
  • Although Covid-19 restrictions saw face-to-face contact halving, the demand has increased since restrictions have lifted, according to advisers

In today’s hybrid, digitally enabled world, we expect to have live access to our finances and investments, and this is translating into the service being required from financial advisers, according to new research from wealth manager Charles Stanley.

A third (33%) of advisers say they are finding their clients want more contact time with them out of traditional working hours. Additional consumer research saw clients admitting they want more support from advisers around the hours that suit them, even if it’s after the core 9-5 working day.

The research, which uncovers at which point, and why, clients engage with financial advisers and how the “financial conversation” has evolved, found that clients are increasingly expecting financial advisers to be more accessible to them.

More than a third (35%) of advisers say client demands have changed as they want to meet more frequently and have more contact time with them.

Covid-19 restrictions promoted the need for more digital engagement with the rise of Zoom style meetings, resulting in face-to-face meetings halving from 52% to 24%. Whilst video conference calls increased from 20% to 32%. Despite this, a third of advisers (33%) have confirmed that the demand for face-to-face contact has since increased. A quarter (25%) of advisers say clients want to continue with virtual meetings.

 

Ways in which meetings with advisers were/are conducted Pre-Covid-19 Post-Covid-19
Video conference calls (i.e. WebEx, Zoom, Skype, Teams etc) 20% 32%
Phone conversations 32% 35%
Face-to-face meetings 52% 24%
Emails 32% 35%
Social media engagement/messaging (i.e. LinkedIn) 14% 18%
Other way 4% 4%
N/A Did not have meetings 5% 12%

 

Looking into what consumers themselves want and expect when receiving financial advice, 16% said their adviser offering more support around hours that suit them is what makes for a good financial advice experience. Whilst a quarter (23%) said their adviser having regular communication with them.

The pandemic has thrown many consumers’ financial plans into question prompting them to turn to their adviser to discuss financial worries. Coupled with the nation adapting to more hybrid and flexible working, the ways in which clients seek advice from their adviser has also changed. The rise in technology has a part to play in the way clients seek advice, and advisers have had to quickly adapt to the different ways in which generations want to communicate.

It’s not just the pandemic that is driving a new way of working for advisers, but also generational change. Looking at age breakdowns, advisers are being pulled into the social media and digital space by younger clients, with 24% of 18-21year olds and 26% of 22-25year olds saying they conduct meetings with their advisers via social media engagement or messaging post-Covid-19. Among older age groups, such as those aged 31-35 and 46-55, 40% and 26% respectively said they conducted meetings via video conference calls post-Covid-19. This compares to 27% and 8% respectively who said they conducted meetings this way pre-Covid.

Sean Osborne, Group Head of Sales at Charles Stanley, comments: “Advisers were quick to adapt to the “new normal” last year, and as we become more settled with hybrid and flexible working, they are having to adapt again to meet changing client demands and their financial priorities. The pandemic is largely responsible for shifting the way in which people access and seek advice, but advisers are also being drawn into social media environments by younger clients, while simultaneously being expected to maintain and increase face time with others. As such, advisers are having to diversify their approaches on how they interact with clients on more personal and bespoke levels.

“In addition to their roles becoming increasingly multi-faceted, advisers could potentially be faced with a skills gap, as well as increasing cost of infrastructure as they address changing client needs. Teamed with regulatory pressures and the need to ensure Customer Duty with strong client communications, advisers are having to evolve at a much faster rate to bridge client differences across generations, technologies, and the overall support they require.”

With client demands growing, Charles Stanley is seeing an increase in outsourcing of investment solutions as advisers focus more time on the client experience. To support, Charles Stanley is due to launch a full report which looks at life stages and milestones that trigger client conversations with financial advisers, and how advisers can adapt to facilitate new or challenging conversations and demands with clients.

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