Finding new clients at any time in a financial adviser’s working life can be a challenge, but imagine having to do that at the beginning of your career, at the start of the lockdown last year.
In the latest edition of the FTAdviser Podcast, Emma Prince, an adviser at Quilter Financial Advisers, who previously worked in banking, and James Wallace from David James Wealth, a former pensions lawyer, appeared as guests to talk about their first year as financial advisers.
As newly qualified financial advisers, they are part of a unique cohort who started their financial advice careers in lockdown.
Prince said: “[Pre-Covid] you would have met people and gotten to know them. But [in lockdown] we could not go and see people or have face-to-face networking events.
“I found Zoom to be brilliant and started to go to online networking events: meeting up with other professionals to see how we could help each other.
"There are benefits to seeing people in person, so it is a bit harder not being able to do that. When starting from scratch, things do not happen straight away. It takes time to build that rapport.”
She was able to build her client base, from helping friends, family members and others in her own personal network, who then went on to refer her to other people, while having a coach and mentor helped build her confidence, knowledge and soft skills.
Wallace, who has built his client base through webinars and prior relationships he formed with lawyers and other professionals when he was a pensions lawyer, added: “Trust is the key thing you need to build [a relationship] with clients and it is harder to do remotely.”
Both Prince’s and Wallace’s clients range from those in their 30s right through to those approaching retirement.
But Wallace added he was also seeing more people in their late 20s who were engaging with financial advice.
However, a large number of them were not approaching investments with a long-term mindset, but rather were adopting a ‘gambler’s’ approach, which could lead to getting involved in riskier investments - a concern already raised by the FCA.
Wallace also warned that more people needed to be thinking earlier about their pensions, in the face of a large generational wealth gap which was growing, because younger people today do not have the same security in pensions that their parents and grand-parents had with final salary pensions.
Additionally, there are other costs to contend with, such as rent, mortgages and student loans, making them worse off financially.
However, these factors present an opportunity for financial advisers to find creative ways to engage more with this younger generation, he said.
As lockdown eases, Prince and Wallace said they were both looking forward to seeing clients and networking. Both also agreed that a hybrid model of interacting with clients face-to-face and virtually would be the way forward.
To listen to the full podcast click play on the player above. FTAdviser's podcasts are also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Acast.