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YBS: Video makes regulated advice more accessible

YBS: Video makes regulated advice more accessible

Following the news that Yorkshire Building Society has said it is offering customers the chance to take “expert financial advice” in their homes via video conferencing, the group said using the medium makes advice more accessible to more people.

The new regulated advice service, which the building society claimed is a first in its sector, offers appointments between 9am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, and will allow its financial advisers to give customers at-home advice and share documents, via any tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Simon Broadley, head of investments at YBS, told FTAdviser that as a mutual with no external shareholders, it prioritises its members and re-invests profits to improve products and services.

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“We believe the best way of advising a customer on how to invest their money is through face-to-face contact with a fully-qualified financial adviser, but we know that many people with busy modern lives simply do not have the time to get to a branch and use this service.

“Using video communication makes this form of advice accessible to more people, which is what we hope to achieve through this new service. Our partnership with Legal and General as the provider of the service and advice allows us to do this.”

Mr Broadley added that once a customer makes an appointment by telephone, they will be sent a confirmation email with instructions on how to download the app used for the conference call.

Once it is their appointment time, the customer simply clicks the link and will be directed through to the call, which is locked and fully secure.

“The video service falls into our existing sales process and advice standards, which are fully compliant and part of our overall control framework as you would expect.

Mr Broadley added this is a different way of reaching more customers through the society’s existing offering, adding that he welcomes the government and regulator’s review of the financial advice market, which may expand such new mediums of advice.

At the beginning of this year, consultancy Wesylan rolled out a ‘virtual face-to-face’ service for its 340-consultant strong advice unit.

It estimated that the firm’s 340 financial consultants could save up to 2.5 hours per meeting by doing things remotely, part of plans to expand within chosen markets of doctors, dentists, lawyers and teachers.

Last year, Craig Davidson, founder and compliance director at Reckitt House, launched a ‘virtual face-to-face’ advisory service, which he said can cut around half off the 3 per cent initial advice fee that is still being charged by many peers.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com