Celebrating industry champions

“I really hope that when our customers and their advisers look back on this period they think of Quilter as a firm who was there for them. We’re incredibly proud of this award and especially so in 2020.” 

Outstanding achievement

The champagne flowed as Octopus won the Outstanding Achievement Award – marking the seventh year it has achieved the coveted five-star rating.

Ruth Handcock, chief executive of Octopus Investments, said: “We want to provide the most comprehensive support in the industry for financial advisers who are recommending investments into smaller companies that provide valuable tax reliefs. 

“We continually listen to customer feedback and evolve our ways of working to ensure we can best serve the needs of financial advisers and their clients.”

There were three winners of the Most Improved awards. MetLife Europe won the Pensions & Protection award for jumping up from a two-star rating in 2019 to a five-star rating in 2020, while Seven Investment Management topped the Investments accolade after rising from a four-star rating to a five-star rating this year. And in Mortgages, TSB took home the Most Improved award for 2020. 

New award

Scottish Widows was the worthy winner of  the Special Editor’s Achievement Award for 30 Years’ Consistent Service. The well-deserved prize was awarded to Scottish Widows because it has averaged consistently high scores over the years.

The company has evidently been providing good service and products since its foundation in 1815 – a strong heritage.

Covid’s effect on the industry

During the awards, which were sponsored by Scottish Widows, Mr Jones paid tribute to how quickly the financial advice industry has adapted to remote working due to coronavirus.

Interestingly, he pointed to recent surveys carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority and by FTAdviser, which revealed that only a handful of advice companies have found the new Covid-19 environment so tough that they might not be able to survive.

Thankfully, the vast majority have adapted to take advantage of the technology available to deliver great service to clients. 

He said: “Technology has been the lifeblood of advice businesses over the past year as Covid-19 sent world economies into lockdown. 

“Working from home has been a challenge in every industry, but we have seen how well the advice industry has risen to this challenge. 

“Over the past few months the rise of Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings has meant advisers could reach more clients for meetings than previously, when meetings were in person and often in different parts of the country.”

Mr Jones added: “Communication with clients has been paramount, both to allay their concerns about falling investment values, as well as to prevent them from being preyed on by the scammers who have come crawling out of the woodwork during Covid-19.