Financial Adviser’s Service Awards are now in their 30th year, and what a year 2020 has turned out to be so far!
Amid the fires and flooding, global pandemic and market turmoil, the day-to-day work of financial advice still must go on. People still need protection policies, and still need to make provision for their financial future in retirement.
To do this, financial advisers need to know the product and policy providers their clients use are delivering great service, regardless of market conditions. And the Financial Adviser Service Awards aim to celebrate those companies consistently delivering five-star service to advisers and the end consumer.
For our special 30th anniversary awards, it is interesting to note that some elements of what good service looks like have not changed over the years, even if policies and pension acts have.
IFAs still value proactive communication and speedy resolutions to issues as and when they arise. They still like to see providers expanding the definitions of conditions covered by policies, as well as working to make the pensions process simpler.
But technology has also helped to change the way in which clients interact with their life and pension policies, and so it is important for advisers that the providers servicing them also adapt and adopt new technologies.
For winners in 2019, ensuring consultants and business development managers provided value-added services to advisers, while streamlining services and underwriting processes, were important considerations as to what good service looked like for the advisers who voted for the providers showing best practice in these areas.
According to one five-star winner in 2019, Talbot & Muir, enhancing adviser support and new business functions to improve service delivery were key aspects of their service commitment to advisers.
Another five-star winner in 2019, Holloway Friendly, said it had “ensured advisers had dedicated contact points throughout its business, from distribution through to underwriting and claims”.
But what will advisers award five-star ratings for this year in the Life & Pensions category? What has changed (if anything) in the meantime?
As for change — well the FASAs are changing this year, too.
Financial Adviser has introduced new categories and updated the voting forms to better reflect how advisers businesses operate in 2020 across the piste.
It will certainly be interesting to see how advisers rate support services providers, platforms and discretionary fund managers, as these are three new categories that Financial Adviser has introduced for this year.
Cash has also been given a bit of a resurgence this year, as markets saw a flight to safety. So you can vote for service levels among cash providers, too, as this has been added to the Investments category for 2020.
Online voting is already available, and in just a few days' time you will see the voting forms appearing in print.
This will enable you to rate financial services providers for the quality and consistency of their service to you and your clients over the past year.