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By Aamina Zafar | Published Sep 15, 2011

IFAs and banks urged to learn from each other: C&W

Michele Metcalfe, director of banking and financial services for C&W, said IFAs can learn from banks' expert use of technology, including the use of internet banking, to provide modern services and keep their costs down.

At the same time, Ms Metcalfe said banks should learn from advisers' ability to provide the much-needed personal touch when dealing with customers.

She said: "IFAs and banks can come together to improve the customer experience. Banks have excelled in their use of technology, with online banking, which is popular."

Ms Metcalfe said IFAs can learn from this by embracing technology more. So instead of just having an annual face-to-face meeting with a client, which may not be cost-effective, especially under the retail distribution review, IFAs could video call their clients.

She added: "This would save the customer a lot of time. It is even something they could do in the comfort of their own home or during a lunch break."

Her comments came on the back of a Cable & Wireless report, entitled Banking 20/20: The Customer Journey, which considers the importance of technology for the customer experience.

The nine-page document said 70 per cent of buyers wanted a pro-active route to products and that this group of buyers relies heavily on technology to find, evaluate and compare a product.

The document added: "There is a general trade-off in the customer's mind between arranging new products at the branch or through the online system.

"Buyers make informed judgements on what to buy, largely based on two strategies: the old-fashioned route of visiting branches or through the exploitation of modern online technology that does some of the analysis and evaluation for them."

Derek Bradley, chief executive and founder of adviser forum PanaceaIFA.com, said more IFAs are already embracing technology and are using video conferencing to host client meetings.

He added: "Technology exists to create and manage closer client relationships and reduce costs in so many ways."

Solutions to allow IFAs to run business smarter is "just a click away and much of it is either free or low cost."

He added: "Keeping track of technology advances is the only problem. Many already use Skype for client contact and this will only get more popular and sophisticated as faster broadband becomes more widespread, and technology costs reduce.

"IFAs vary in how they embracing technology, but it is the key to their futures in the brave new post-RDR world."

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