It is clear that there are forces at play within financial services which are radically altering the way advisers need to manage their businesses. Some of these are clear and obvious, some less so.
Reading the missives from regulators may not be a scintillating experience but it is certainly a worthwhile one for anyone interested in the direction of travel.
Both The Pensions Regulator and The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) seem to be skewing more and more towards the consumer experience of financial matters, rather than simply the advice or service provided. This means they are imploring financial firms, of all types and sizes, to apply a greater focus on helping the consumer understand money matters, the financial processes and products. This makes a lot of sense because if consumers are better educated and informed then better decisions will be made, thereby reducing the number of problem areas.
Facing the future
As a result, the adviser position is shifting. After all, advisers are firmly in the front line having a face to face role and relationship with consumers – ie clients.
Providing a deeper understanding of personal finances is one of the subtle forces – a less obvious one – which impact advisers. It is also highly counter-intuitive. On the surface it may appear that helping people understand more about how everything works makes them more likely to run off and do things for themselves and not to use a professional adviser.
That could not be further from the truth which is that well-informed and empowered consumers are more likely to use trusted experts and brands.
Keep it simple
Bearing this in mind, let’s return to the concept of using video. The problem consumers have with financial matters is they find them difficult to grasp. This is partly down to the complexity of legislation in some areas (e.g. income drawdown), the terminology (e.g. residence nil rate band) or the concept (e.g. cash flow planning). Such confusion is often made more exasperating by some advisers’ attempts to explain such matters through convoluted blogs, web pages with lots of text on them or long reports, also text based.
Financial services research during 2019 from the likes of PWC and Accenture identifies the rapid change taking place in consumer behaviour and the extent to which this is driven by technology. The client experience is changing and what those clients will be looking for will be different today than it was even just a few years ago. For advisers, by delivering an educational experience for clients through the use of video, they meet their changing needs for a modern communication approach.
This is not a trend that is either going to reverse or stall. It is going to accelerate.
I know just from my own experience as a consumer, that there are now several daily ‘emails’ bringing me information and news which are video only. The number of daily video updates I get now are at least double what they were twelve months ago and I expect this will double again in the next year.
What does this mean for advisers?
With the goal of moving more towards being information providers and educators, advisers have to decide how they provide this in a digital world. It cannot be done by word of mouth, one client or prospect at a time, as that would be inefficient to a degree that would be ridiculous. And whilst there is still a place for a blog or written content, this does not really cut it for a typical audience.
The answer clearly lies with the unstoppable force that is video, which is the chosen medium of the audience. Although there are many things that are new in this digital age, the smart idea of giving people what they want is as old as the hills.
That is why I have been involved in the development of video for advisers to use. These own- branded videos explain complex financial subjects and ideas in a way that consumers can understand whilst providing a fun and engaging experience for the viewer.
The videos have passed through dozens of compliance regimes and are tested with consumers before releasing them, giving them a substance which can give firms a huge reassurance and at reduced cost than trying to build such video from scratch.
Video use is growing exponentially everywhere you look. For advisers, using video is a simple extension of this trend and one which meets so many regulatory objectives.
About David Inglis
David Inglis is a director of Gadget Line Films, a business which builds animated videos for advisers under a joint venture initiative with Independent Check Ltd. This joint venture is known as Own Branded Videos. http://www.independentcheck.co.uk/own-branded-video-2/