3 months ago • 4 mins
abrdn carried out an interesting piece of research with over 1,000 advised consumers. Some of the questions asked were around how engagement with their advisors has changed as a result of the pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis and lockdowns forced many of us into a world of remote working and virtual meetings. abrdn's findings reveal however that the majority of clients are much more receptive to receiving advice this way than they were before the pandemic struck. The main reasons for this are the flexibility and convenience of digital tools and because clients are now more comfortable using Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
These findings offer some insight into how advisor firms could look to develop client engagement post-pandemic, using digital tools to build a more efficient business for the long term and attract new clients.
We know many advisor firms have already embraced a blended client engagement model since lockdown restrictions were lifted, offering a mix of face-to-face and virtual client meetings. And they’ve already seen the benefits of using digital such as the time and travel cost savings.
Longer term, embedding the use of digital tools to engage with clients means advisor firms can not only free up more capacity for greater efficiency, but develop a business model that’s future-proofed as communicating digitally is increasingly the norm for younger generations.
It’s just one of the reasons why there’s a bright future ahead for the advice sector.
The use of digital channels means clients can actually benefit from a more enhanced level of service too, with advisors offering financial guidance at a time and place to suit the client and in a way that best suits their needs and life stage.
abrdn's research highlights however that regardless of age, some clients only want to meet face-to-face, while other clients only want to engage online to access the information they want in a way they want to receive it.
What’s clear however, is that a fundamental shift has happened. And it’s a shift that has the potential to make more profound, far-reaching changes within advisor firms than efficiencies and convenience alone, no matter how attractive these benefits are.
Some of the issues clients are worried about were also revealed in abrdn's research findings. What’s interesting is that their concerns about the need for support for their families over the long term is as high as it is for themselves.
These concerns have likely been triggered by the pandemic which has brought many families closer together and encouraged more support. With these closer family ties, many advisors now have the opportunity to reach out to younger members through their existing clients.
After all, advisors’ client base has shifted to an older demographic as a result of pension freedoms, with more clients needing advice longer into retirement. Added to this is the wholesale shift of assets through pension transfers. It means advisers now have more clients in their 70s with substantial assets and who are starting to think about passing on wealth to future generations.
At the core of intergenerational wealth transfer is being able to speak to family generations together. The use of digital tools to facilitate virtual meetings makes this so much easier as families are often split across different towns and cities. These discussions give advisors the opportunity to potentially attract younger members to become clients too.
Longer term, with digital means of communication likely to be much more attractive and appealing to younger generations, the advisor firms that embrace digital will be able to satisfy the growing demand for intergenerational advice and so help to retain family assets within the business.
Of course, providing advice is more than about providing knowledge about tax and investments, It’s about providing reassurance and peace of mind to clients too.
About a third of the clients asked say they’ve had much more contact with their advisor since the first lockdown because they appreciate the value of advice more.
They also want that more frequent contact to continue.
It means clients’ understanding of the value of financial advice has never been stronger. Their wish for their children and grandchildren to seek support and guidance is also clear.
What client wouldn't want to give their family the same benefit of being in control financially as they have?
Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, technology has helped advisor firms to continue to deliver a seamless experience to clients. Now, with the majority of clients much more receptive to receiving advice remotely, continuing the use of digital engagement tools can help advisors grow their business and develop long-term opportunities, such as in the area of intergenerational advice, to serve more clients.
And at the heart of building a sustainable business fit for the future is being able to provide that reassurance and peace of mind clients of all generations are looking for.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and your clients could get back less than they paid in
The views expressed should not be regarded as financial advice.
Disclaimer: These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
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