Business growth the single biggest concern for advisers

Advisers believe business growth and efficiency to be the single biggest challenge they’re facing over the next year, according to the latest annual census from adviser-built wrap platform Nucleus. 

The 2020 census found that 30% of respondents identified business growth and efficiency as their main concern, up from 19% last year. The findings suggest that the fallout from Covid-19 may see this issue amplified over the longer term.   

Interestingly, there has been a continued shift away from regulation being cited as a particular challenge. Some 19% of users felt regulation was their primary business concern, which is broadly in line with last year but represents a marked decrease from 27% in 2018.  

Firms see the increasing demand for advice as the main opportunity for their business, with the need for financial planning services representing a major opportunity for 45% of respondents, compared with 39% last year.  

While the census points to signs of increased efficiency, it also suggests advice firms continue to struggle with capacity issues, and to make the most of the opportunity of the demand for advice.  

Time spent on compliance was the most significant overall driver of capacity issues, with 51% citing time spent on compliance limiting their productivity.  

Some 42% of users said an increase in demand for their services is putting a strain on their workload, and a further 40% attributed capacity issues to spending time on processes that could be automated. 

In line with the need for increased efficiency, 30% of firms were exploring alternatives to face-to-face advice prior to Covid-19, compared with 25% last year.

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