Partner Content by Charles Stanley

Conversation, counselling, and emotional support– clients ask for more from their financial advisers

Consumers are increasingly seeking financial advice at pivotal, and often more vulnerable, moments in their lives. As a result, it’s reshaped the role of financial advisers as clients are much more demanding about what additional support they need. Adviser’s skillsets have had to expand beyond just providing financial advice. According to our recent survey of professional advisers and their clients, a third (34%) of financial advisers surveyed revealed that clients need more emotional support than financial, such as guidance and assistance with their day-to-day lives. Almost a third (31%) of advisers also said that clients now require more support in general.

More than a third (35%) of financial advisers revealed that clients now wish to meet more frequently and have more contact time with them. A third (34%) also confirmed that clients want more contact outside of traditional working hours. Since Covid-19 restrictions have lifted, almost the same number (33%) confirmed that the demand for face-to-face contact has also increased.

Covid-19 has also exacerbated client needs and the skillsets required of advisers are more diverse than ever. When thinking about what clients want most from their meetings, 31% of financial advisers said that clients want answers to any questions they have. Whilst the same number (31%) said clients want them to use real-life examples. But clients are also wanting more personal touches added to the advice they receive. 29% of advisers recognise that clients want them to understand their personal situation whether that be family life, employment status, or day-to-day struggles. A quarter (26%) want their adviser to build their relationship with them.

As part of the study, we also asked UK adults who have previously sought or currently seek financial advice what their expectations and requirements are of financial advisers. In addition to the traditional adviser role and being masters in their field, many consumers expect financial advisers to go above and beyond, becoming more like counsellors in their approach to their service.

When thinking about what advisers could do to make the experience of receiving financial advice better, 19% said they want advisers to answer any questions they have, while 19% want to be talked to like a human being. 19% said that regular communication from their adviser would also make for a better experience when it comes to receiving financial advice, while 15% said more support around hours that suit them, even if it’s after core traditional working hours, would make it better. More than one in ten (13%) said their adviser could be more familiar and sympathetic to their personal situation.

Financial advisers are not only expected to be a master in their field, but they are also increasingly challenged with the need to offer emotional support and support to vulnerable clients. Clients no longer only seek financial advice from their adviser, but also look for someone who can go above and beyond the traditional role and demonstrate their skillset as a counsellor, mediator, and listener, all the while being more contactable and accessible out of hours.

Covid-19 has thrown huge curveballs to both advisers and clients, changing the ways we work, digitisation, the financial priorities everyone has, and the moments that matter which prompt conversations between the two. Advisers have been quick to adapt to a more virtual model of advice, but things are shifting again as clients want more face-to-face contact and a broader skillset from their adviser. The lines are being blurred between professional and personal advice in a post-Covid world, and advisers are under pressure to deliver on all fronts.