Dynamic Planner’s 2022 Spotlight Report finds advisers embrace productivity dividends uncovered by the pandemic to bring financial planning to more people.
The once-in-a-generation technological advance brought about by the pandemic has advisers embracing the productivity dividend it uncovered to bring financial planning to even more people, reveals new research from Dynamic Planner.
Published today, Dynamic Planner’s Annual Spotlight Report, with this year’s theme ‘Reaping the productivity dividend: The financial advice market in 2022’, has found advice firms are in excellent health, expanding, receiving more enquiries and taking on more clients.
Technology is viewed as a near-universal positive, with almost 9 out of 10 (88%) in agreement that it is improving their ability to serve clients. With travel time out of the equation, advisers have been freed up and the number of clients serviced by each adviser has grown steeply since last year’s Spotlight Report. Advice firms are confident about the future and 57% expect their businesses to continue to grow, with three quarters servicing more clients than three years ago and only 4% seeing client bases reduce.
The mood of confidence in the industry is translating into teams who are happy in their work across age brackets, genders and firm sizes. Advisers are happy in their careers and 87% would recommend their paths to others. Once again this year, women are particularly likely to recommend careers in the advice industry.
Advisers do face several common challenges. With Consumer Duty implementation on the horizon, regulation is the No 1 headache, particularly for sole traders and small firms, where the time and cost burden weighs heaviest. They also feel they are spending more time on compliance and administration, and marrying up multiple legacy systems and integration of technology can be a challenge.
Advisers are increasingly on board with ESG, underscoring the secular nature of this shift, and 73% expect all funds to have some degree of ESG integration within 5 years. The majority see sustainability as an opportunity for client engagement, with more clients now asking about ESG without being prompted. Almost two-thirds of respondents feel confident that they have the tools and materials they need to make informed choices about sustainability for their clients.
In last year’s report, the vast majority of firms expected to retain the hybrid – online plus face-to-face – working models they developed in the Covid period, and this has been borne out with over three-quarters either hybrid or fully online. Just 23% have returned to a majority face-to-face model.
Yasmina Siadatan, Sales and Marketing Director at Dynamic Planner said: “This year’s Spotlight Report, based on research drawn from one of the largest advice communities in the UK, paints a picture of a flexible industry that has weathered considerable challenges and emerged stronger.
“It comes at a turbulent time for advisers and their clients: war in Ukraine, an energy crisis, and central banks battling to control the highest inflation in a generation. Meanwhile, advice firms are reckoning with the biggest regulatory overhaul since the Retail Distribution Review.
“And yet the survey finds a buoyant industry facing the future with confidence. The productivity dividend that came from the pandemic looks to be here to stay. Hybrid working models remain in place and, as a result, advisers are looking after increasing numbers of clients. What was gained from this once-in-a-generation technological advance cannot be underestimated, it is enabling financial planning to be accessed by more people than ever.”
The key numbers:
▪ 75% of firms are servicing more clients than they were three years ago
▪ Close to two-thirds of advisers are seeing an increase in new client enquiries through the pandemic and beyond
▪ 65% of firms have seen new client enquiries grow
▪ Just 23% of firms have returned to a majority face-to-face model
▪ 88% believe technology is improving their ability to service their clients
▪ More than three-quarters are delivering most of their advice through hybrid or fully online models
▪ 69% of firms have retained hybrid working models
▪ 73% expect all funds to have some degree of ESG integration within five years
▪ 32% expect to complete risk and sustainability profiling remotely in three years
▪ 64% feel equipped to make informed choices about sustainability for clients
▪ 87% of advisers would recommend financial planning as a career
▪ 94% of over-65s would recommend financial advice as a career
▪ The number one headache for firms is regulation