The shift to hybrid advice is one many are turning to post-pandemic but it has come about through circumstance rather than choice, according to Ross Liston, group managing director at Sesame Bankhall Group.
Speaking to FTAdviser, Liston said: “The reality is if you speak to the advisers, they will tell us that circumstance rather than choice has driven where we've got to just now so I think we are in a period of adjustment.
“Having said that, the pandemic has accelerated the move towards digital tools, business models, and I think that's a good thing. Likewise, we have the regulatory push around on demand and what does advice look like such as pay as you go advice and how those things play out.”
Liston said advice needed to be integrated but it was not clear what the outcome should look like.
“The future has to be a hybrid model and it's understanding the roles of individuals within firms,” he added.
“I'm intrigued as to how that all plays out in their businesses but it also aligns to the other theme around vulnerability. And if many firms are giving ongoing advice, as people live longer then their risk of vulnerability increases, so if you only see them on a zoom call once every six months, how do you keep in touch?
“These are the things I'm hearing from advisers. I don’t think we know the answer but I think we work with the regulator, and we remain interested as we all adjust in this new world.”
Chief executive Michele Golunska agreed, saying there is still value in face to face advice.
“We do support that concept, but we also support the opportunity to use technology and virtual interaction where it works for the customer and and works for the kind of conversation that the adviser is having with the customer,” she said.
Golunska explained Sesame is supportive of the “emerging model” and recognises that for different firms, there may be a different approach.
“We don't believe that there's just a standard sort of one size fits all,” she said.
“The advisers I've spoken to have all been progressive in wanting to improve the engagement that they have with their clients and improve the opportunity to work with more clients. That's where the focus is."
Earlier this week, FTAdviser reported that SBG has rejoined adviser body Pimfa in order to take a more active role in the market.
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