Broker  

Broker makes remote advice a permanent feature

Broker makes remote advice a permanent feature
Members of the Responsible Life team

Later life mortgage broker Responsible Life has launched remote regulated advice as a permanent arm of its business, claiming video-based advice is attracting new clients at an earlier stage in their lives.

The advice firm said remote advice is “easier” for many of its customers, and has encouraged earlier conversations with clients around their financial planning.

Responsible Life, which was founded back in 2010, held all its financial advice appointments in-person prior to Covid-19. 

But during the pandemic, the broker discovered “large numbers of customers prefer the convenience of not having to invite someone into their home”. 

The new permanent business arm, called ‘Remote Advice Centre’, has launched with five advisers, but the broker said it will be recruiting an additional 20 “specialists” specially trained in video-based customer experience.

Some advisers will work remotely, while others will be based at the company’s headquarters in Plymouth, Devon. 

“Aside from the fact that retirees are incredibly tech-savvy these days and welcome the chance to jump on video calls, we’ve also discovered there’s a reluctant minority out there who are more inclined to seek advice if it’s hassle free,” said Steve Wilkie, executive chairperson of Responsible Life.

“Some people just don’t want to feel like they’re wasting your time but this is something we want to combat.”

A remote offering, Wilkie said, solves this problem “at a stroke”, encouraging people to seek financial advice early rather than “letting anxiety fester”.

“Providing remote advice will allow us to spend more time with more customers and forge relationships that may not progress to a formal application for years, or at all,” Wilkie explained.

“Some customers will go through the entire application process without meeting an adviser in person, while others will take the first step remotely before inviting an adviser round to their home for a more detailed consultation.”

The advice firm clarified it will have safeguards in place for more vulnerable customers where longer, in-person visits are more appropriate.

Responsible Life is part of Responsible Group, which began filling 73 positions late last year and is on course to “double” its headcount in Plymouth by the end of next year. According to LinkedIn, Responsible Life has around 112 employees currently.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com