Toni Smith – Chief Operating Officer
The recent global crisis and ensuing financial turmoil have raised the profile and virtues of proper financial planning, as well as the need for accessible technology to serve a broadening demographic seeking advice.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated transformation of the financial advice landscape. While many have struggled financially, others are better off, and the demographic variation is clear.
Young people have been twice as likely to lose their jobs during the crisis, according to research from the London School of Economics, while a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) study found 14% of adults, mainly in older groups, have seen an improvement in their financial situation, due to low activity and spending through the lockdowns.
Historically the preserve of older, wealthier individuals, a recent report by Prudential discovered the need for financial advice is now felt strongest among younger generations, with 74% of millennials saying they had, or were going to, see an adviser.
That’s not to say demand from more mature generations has diminished. For many, the pandemic has brought mortality into focus, leaving them wondering if they can retire earlier or consider what they need to do to ensure their family are supported.
Advisers need to adapt their client approach and innovate their service. Those who have are succeeding in building stronger, more robust businesses that give clients assurance and continuity.
The demographic shift, along with the necessity of continuing to serve clients during the pandemic, has accelerated the use of technology in our industry. As a profession built on developing strong interpersonal relationships via face-to-face meetings, often in people’s homes, advisers quickly found other ways to speak to clients whilst maintaining trust.
We have all been propelled into using video platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams which have been crucial to continuing communication during this difficult period.
High levels of digital client engagement are very much the new norm. This is reflected in the recent development of the Toolbox Client Portal and this can only be a good thing, enabling us to adapt and improve the client experience as consumer demands continue to evolve.
A trusted adviser relationship with clients is crucial and this won’t change; it’s just that technology is becoming more of an enabler.
Advisers should continue to adapt and understand the demand for technology that is expected from younger generations who want to engage in different ways.
Financial advice is not a one size fits all solution, and the introduction of a digitally enabled approach is exciting as it will provide an appropriate route for the younger generation to engage with financial planning early on and provide plenty of choice. PRIMIS are fully committed to an ambitious IT journey to do just this.