Partner Content by Charles Stanley

Advisers risk being 'always on' call due to client demand for support

Covid-19 has caused unprecedented disruption across the country, altering the way people work, communicate, and live day-to-day. According to research from Charles Stanley, financial advisers are being tasked with providing an ‘always-on’ service to their clients, with 33% of advisers finding their clients want more contact time with them out of traditional working hours.

Our research, which uncovers at which point and why clients engage with financial advisers and how the conversation has shifted, found that clients are increasingly expecting financial advisers to be more accessible to them.

35% of advisers say client demands have changed as they want to meet more frequently and have more contact time with them.  33% said the demand for face-to-face contact has increased since the pandemic, whilst only a quarter (25%) of advisers say clients want to continue with virtual meetings.

Looking into what consumers themselves want and expect when receiving financial advice, 16% said their adviser offering more support around hours that suit them, even if it's after the core traditional working hours, makes for a good financial advice experience. Nearly a quarter (23%) said their adviser having regular communication with them made for a good experience.

The pandemic has thrown many consumers’ financial plans into question prompting them to turn to their adviser to discuss financial worries. Coupled with the nation adapting to more hybrid and flexible working, the ways in which clients seek advice from their adviser has also changed. The rise in technology has a part to play in the way clients seek advice, and advisers have had to quickly adapt to the different ways in which generations want to communicate.

Pre-Covid-19, 20% of consumers who have previously or currently seek financial advice said they conducted meetings through video conference calls, such as Zoom, Skype, or Teams. Post-Covid-19 this rose to 32%. Other virtual ways of communication, including phone conversations, email correspondence, and social media all increased Post-Covid-19.

It’s not just the pandemic that is driving a new way of working for advisers, but also generational change. Looking at age breakdowns, advisers are being pulled into the social media and digital space by younger clients, with 24% of 18-21year olds and 26% of 22-25year olds saying they conduct meetings with their advisers via social media engagement or messaging post-Covid-19. Among older age groups, such as those aged 31-35 and 46-55, 40% and 26% respectively said they conducted meetings via video conference calls post-Covid-19. This compares to 27% and 8% respectively who said they conducted meetings this way pre-Covid.

Advisers were quick to adapt last year, and now as we become more settled with hybrid and flexible working, they are having to adapt again to meet changing client demands and their financial priorities. Financial adviser’s roles are increasingly multi-faceted, and to add, the pandemic has undoubtably accelerated tech trends and shifted the way in which people access and seek advice. From being drawn into social media environments by younger clients, to also being expected to maintain and increase face time with others, advisers are having to diversify their approaches on how they interact with clients on more personal and bespoke levels.