City thinking, local knowledge

The changing face of financial advice

By Questa Chartered

This article discusses how financial advisers across the nation have adapted to continue to deliver a valuable service at a period of upheaval which hasn’t been seen since the Second World War.

Covid-19 has completely changed the way financial planners deliver advice. At the drop of a hat, the industry had to embrace years’ worth of technological innovation so that advisers could continue to provide their service during a tumultuous time.

The financial advice sector has traditionally relied on face-to-face meetings. In some cases, a client would only go to their adviser’s office once a year for a coffee and a detailed overview of their finances.

This meeting was something of a ritual for advice clients… Until social distancing measures were introduced in March when this format of meeting became impossible.

When people en-masse needed detailed updates on the impact of the pandemic on their finances, conventional meetings were out of the question.

In their masses, clients and advisers adopted Skype and Zoom to discuss their finances; clients wanted regular updates on their investments’ performance in challenging market conditions and many advisers adapted to provide this online.

To some extent, clients and advisers became better connected than ever before. Multiple 15 minute video ‘chats’ have generally replaced the longer, formal meetings that were previously a hallmark of the adviser/client relationship. This style of meeting resembles the way people grow closer in conventional relationships, where shorter, more regular interactions dominate.

Although stock markets have, by and large, rebounded since the ‘Covid Crash’ earlier this year, a climate of uncertainty is likely to continue until a vaccine is found. In this scenario, ‘little and often’ contact will remain the norm for most firms. It may even continue into a post-Covid world.’

Continuing to give clients peace of mind

In the Covid uncertainty, advisers really showed their value by saving their clients the legwork needed to make the appropriate changes to clients’ portfolios following the economic shockwaves the pandemic sent around the globe.

The knowledge that their finances were in expert hands and problems would be dealt with diligently served as reassurance for many. Lightening the weight of clients’ financial stresses was crucial when many felt profound uncertainty and vulnerability in all areas of their lives.

Furthermore, the value of advisers who had close relationships with their clients was greater than ever.

These advisers were well-versed in their clients’ personal circumstances and could anticipate any changes to their personal financial plans at an early stage.

Personal relationships will always be a vital part of the advice process. A strong personal relationship is a key cornerstone of a good service and will be so for as long as the profession exists.

If you have any questions about how we have adapted our service in the wake of the pandemic, please get in touch.

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