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The 21st century adviser keeping pace with tomorrow’s market

They may not have been the first to utter this immortal line but, as a fan of 'dad rock', I believe that Bon Jovi said it best in their 2010 song; "The more things change, the more they stay the same".  

Although Jon and Richie were not directly referencing the current financial advisory market, the sentiment behind the words could be quite easily applied to the current climate for the 21st century adviser. The products and services available, our remuneration, how we engage with existing and new clients...all of this has evolved from even a decade ago. However, the core client needs and the fundamentals of what clients want from their adviser have remained unchanged.

To set some context, I read recently that 61% of people that use the internet, research products online, and by 2020, consumers will manage 85% of their affairs without the need to speak to a human. Quite a potential threat to the service industry as we know it today I’m sure you’ll agree. Change should always be embraced and, in order to future-proof your client base, the landscape suggests that all advisers need to keep up with the times – both when it comes to communication and proposition delivery.

Over the past ten years, information on financial services and products has gone through some real change, particularly when it comes to accessibility.  It used to be the case that the world of finance was mysterious and intimidating to the masses, and most of the 'clarifying' information surrounding it only served to confuse clients further.  Advisers (and there were a lot more of us then) have always been essential in guiding clients through the process and decoding the material available into consumer-friendly chunks.  Nowadays, information on financial services is everywhere - perhaps most predominantly - all over the internet.  

We seem to have leapt into a world where a client can hardly get out of bed without receiving a web-based financial services offer!  

Annoying as this constant spewing of information and advertising from every portal can be, even the savviest of clients are aware that too much information also requires the services of an expert adviser to help them.    The way in which we interact with prospects has also changed over the years. Advertising in Yellow Pages, for example, is now utilised much more rarely, eclipsed by online marketing and social media.  I appreciate that social media can seem daunting to those of us who grew up in an analogue world, but, when you look at how other advisers are using these tools effectively, you will see that it has many advantages – including immediacy as well as the opportunity to showcase your best assets – you and your expertise.

Another aspect of this profession, which,  happily hasn't changed, is the value of personal referrals; now there are just more ways in which clients can make them!

All these new methods of communication have heralded a change in the way in which advisers deal with clients.  As the shape of people's lives change for instance the hours and way we work, the way we spend our leisure time and the structure of our family and personal relationships, so too may the traditional client meeting no longer be suitable for everyone.  The harsh reality is that if you are reluctant to communicate via the likes of Skype or Twitter, potential clients will not struggle to find someone who will use these tools.

The main difference here, of course, is that your client demographic itself is bound to change.  The baby boomers’ wealth is beginning to trickle down to the next generation, and even to their children – those  commonly referred to as 'Generation Y' (those born between the early 80s and the 2000s).  These youngsters and their inherited wealth are the future of your business, and so we need to learn to engage with them in mediums with which they have become accustomed.  

Also, this is a generation who has been brought up to shop around and compare multiple products in the click of a few buttons. The services you offer may need to reflect the advancing trends of the future holders of wealth, but they will still want to eventually own their own property, protect their family, save, invest and enjoy retirement, with the help of someone that they can trust and rely on over a long term relationship. Core client needs will not change, but paradoxically, as Bob Dylan wrote and sang; ‘the times, they are a changing’.

Lee Travis, CEO, The New Model Business Academy



[Sponsored article by The New Model Business Academy]


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Author: IFA Life Sponsored Post
Posted: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 | 10:33:31 AM

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