In Focus: When Clients' Plans Change  

Abrdn says its advisers won't go back to 'old normal'

Abrdn says its advisers won't go back to 'old normal'

Abrdn Financial Planning has said it is determined not to "sleepwalk" back into pre-pandemic ways of doing business.

Colin Dyer, client director at Abrdn Financial Planning, said the efficiency of working from home, balanced by time together in offices or coffee shops, has become embedded into the firm’s culture. 

“Most importantly, how we engage with clients, but now we can offer more choice and flexibility. As an industry, the step change we had to make with technology was managed in a couple of weeks and would have probably taken years in normal circumstances. 

“It was quite an achievement.”

“I think we’ll see this adaptable approach continue to evolve, and key for me, it will help the industry help more people with their advice needs,” he said.

Abrdn Financial Planning was previously known as 1825, but rebranded last year as part of the rebrand of Standard Life Aberdeen to Abrdn.

Dyer explained a lot of Abrdn’s clients discovered “the joys of technology” and had enjoyed the flexibility and choice it has brought. 

“But 2021 was the year for seeing many clients face to face again, which was great, but we also saw a significant number deciding to stick with video interaction as it suits them better,” he added.

“We’re happy we can offer these options. Our business, like many, really has changed and we won’t sleepwalk our way back to how things were pre-pandemic.”

Discussing the past year, Dyer said 2021 was the year many thought the pandemic would end and life would return to normal.

“We now know it probably isn’t over but we are learning to live with it and we have all had to adapt accordingly and live in our new normal,” he said.

“For a lot of people, it has meant a lot of change and reflection, due to loss, illness and generally missing some of the people and things we previously took for granted. I think we are all appreciating what we have so much more, from being able to spend time with friends and family to just being able to do more again. We’ve very much seen this echoed in conversations with our clients.”

Trends across the year

Looking at some of the trends from last year, Dyer said the firm has also seen a greater interest in sustainable investment solutions from clients, not least when wealth is passing between generations. 

“This is an area where our industry can act as a huge force for good, and it’s another great conversation to have with clients regarding what they want their investments to achieve,” he said.

From a regulatory point of view, he said, the company had been looking forward to the consumer duty rules in the hope the FCA would also take the opportunity to review "excessive disclosure".