‘How well has the Financial Advice market fared during the pandemic?’
This is a question Lewis Byford is asked almost every day.
Working on the ground and speaking to our clients who are financial planning business owners, this is what we have found.
We have seen the larger advice firms cutting back, making redundancies and reducing their administration resources. Some firms have completely cut back on paraplanning resources and are now passing the responsibility onto their advisers.
This gets a mixed reaction from the advisers; some are happy to do do the work and some are not so happy. We all know advisers are at their best when being face-to-face with their clients and the more time spent with administration and paraplanning duties will only end up in less value being added to their clients.
Technology has played an enormous part and the firms that have adapted to changes that we have all faced the best, are the firms that have embraced technology before the pandemic or those that have got on top of it straight away. Right equipment, proper processes, best technology available will streamline their business.
Where do we currently see growth areas? It’s on the client servicing side, building infrastructure and increasing technology to help service those existing clients, therefore freeing up advisers to focus on new business and building professional connections. More advice firms are investing in marketing on social media, still not enough advisers are doing it, but the ones that are; well, let’s say they are keeping up with the new business levels.
SME businesses have been able to adapt quickly to the changes. We have seen TOP100 firms make redundancies and the SME’s hiring those talented individuals.
As we move into 2021, our industry overall has fared well compared to others. The majority of financial planning firms are working from home and can do so effectively.
The firms that focused on their client offering and ongoing service have bounced back the quickest. In contrast, the firms that rely on the new business to pay essential bills are not in such a good place. From our research, new business figures are down 40%. Advisers and advisory firms need to think of new ways to generate new clients. In the lockdown and socially distant world that we all now live in, online and social media has been the biggest source for new clients.
We have been hosting free workshops and webinars on how to do this, reach out if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any positives with us still in a national lockdown?
Every advice firm has adapted and each firm is working through their own personal struggles. Given what paraplanners have been crying out for over the years is working from home, when we move out of a national lockdown and things start to go back to the new normal, working from home I’m pleased to say is firmly on the table. Every single firm has seen a benefit to some degree. Some of our clients have seen a 38% increase in productivity and the quality of reports.
As hard as it is, for now while the lockdown continues, we have to stay positive and look forward to faring well post the pandemic.
I would love to hear how you are getting on as we (hopefully) start to emerge out of this very strange year, so please follow me on LinkedIn to share your comments, let’s all work together.