Voting has opened for Financial Adviser's annual Service Awards, now in their 30th year.
To celebrate this milestone in the life of this prestigious industry event, Financial Adviser has broadened the scope of the awards and updated the voting forms to better reflect how advisers businesses operate in 2020.
Online voting is now available, and voting forms will also appear in print later this week.
They enable you to rate financial services providers for the quality and consistency of their service to you and your clients over the past year.
And what a year it has been already; fires, floods, Covid-19 and a recession in the first six months alone. But can providers reasonably expect advisers to go lightly on them as a result? Commentators interviewed by Financial Adviser have already said that, at times of extreme crisis, the quality of a provider's or adviser's service is even more quantifiable.
Those who have gone the extra mile to communicate, provide online training, improve technology to allow wet signatures, improve turnaround times and respond to advisers in a timely and professional manner will undoubtedly be given plenty of stars.
Those who have shrunk back from the market, raised premiums, fallen down in terms of turnaround times and not been open in their communications will find the voting reflects this behaviour, too.
So who would get your five and four-star votes for exceptional and excellent service to you and your clients?
In 2019, five-star winners were commended for going the extra mile for clients and advisers, for top-notch communication, for improving technology to make advisers' lives easier, and for creating packages of training, literature and information that helped advisers give a more rounded service to the end client.
What will 2020 bring? It will certainly be interesting to see how advisers rate support services providers, platforms and discretionary fund managers - the 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. But which providers did the noble thing and keep rates competitive? Who dropped service levels, along with the rates of interest on products, as soon as the Bank of England reduced the base rate to 0.1 per cent?
You can vote on these issues, too, as cash providers have been added as a supplementary investments category for 2020.
We hope you find the new categories useful when making your decisions as to who gets the most stars this year. It goes without saying that good service saves you money; bad service costs you money and reputation.
As always, wishing you and yours the very best of health and success,
Simoney Kyriakou, editor, Financial Adviser