Fintel chairman Ken Davy has urged advisers to set a goal of having at least three out of four client meetings remotely as he welcomed in 2022.
He explained that remote meetings would “undoubtedly be good for the environment”, stating clients will be happier while the adviser's own success would increase significantly.
“If you do this, I guarantee that when January 2023 comes around, you will have a more robust and profitable practice, whatever the state of the pandemic,” Davy said.
Discussing the pandemic and its impact, Davy said another reason the success of virtual meetings was so profound was the impact remote technology can have on a business and the environment.
“The fact is that, whether it is you driving to see a client, or the client driving to visit you, it is bad for the environment; just imagine how many journeys could be saved if advisers conducted, say, four out of five of meetings remotely,” he said.
Davy explained that as a direct result of remote meetings, some advisers were already seeing double the number of clients they could meet previously.
“This is why, since the pandemic started, far from suffering, many firms are reporting increases in turnover and, very importantly, increased client satisfaction,” he said. “This is now an established trend which will continue, regardless of what happens with Covid.”
Davy added: “Why would you or your clients waste time, and costly fuel, travelling to meetings, which can so easily be dealt with as, or more, effectively, remotely? The resulting impact on every aspect of an adviser firm’s service and profitability is potentially phenomenal.”
He added: “If someone had told us in March of 2020 that we would still be in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic as we entered 2022, I think we would have probably ridiculed them.
“Yet the reality is that, 22 months after it started, the impact of the pandemic is still affecting our daily lives and the likelihood is that, in one form or another, it is going to be around for a long time to come.”
But he said that despite Covid, it was still going to be a ‘happy’ new year for advisers because the way the vast majority of adviser firms have risen to the challenges of the pandemic had been “quite outstanding”.
“I have written many times previously that the speed with which advisers adapted to remote working was magnificent,” he said. “Equally impressive, however, has been the way that clients have also rapidly adapted to remote ways of communicating.”
Davy explained how clients have embraced chatting on FaceTime to their children and grandchildren or their financial adviser.
“Clearly, nothing can quite replace the personal bonding and relationship building which comes from meeting face-to-face,” he said. “Nonetheless, we are seeing incredibly strong relationships being built with clients entirely remotely, through Zoom, FaceTime and Teams.
“The vast majority of advisers I speak to, whilst invariably extolling the virtues of face-to-face interactions, are also highlighting their success at remote meetings with clients.”