Realising the benefits of remote advice

Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens

If you look back at the huge changes the advice world has had to contend with over the past decade, whether it was the Retail Distribution Review or the 2008 financial crash, it is clear that financial advisers are very adaptable. 

This new crisis is evidently a very difficult one, both in respect to the health and wealth of the nation, and it will undoubtedly have an effect on the profession.

However, the good news is that for a number of years the advice profession was already making tentative steps towards the way of working we have now been forced to adopt.

This means a whole host of software applications, which might have been used on the odd occasion or as a last resort, are now front and centre in the advice process.

While face-to-face advice is of course preferable for certain types of meeting, such as with a new client or when dealing with a more sensitive topic, many advisers I have been speaking to are finding that virtual sessions are not only possible but are working really well for both parties.

Before the crisis, I often heard advisers say they were time poor and it is no wonder. There are simply not enough advisers for all the potential clients in the UK.

However, this new way of working literally gives time to many advisers who would have previously spent a fair chunk of their time travelling from meeting to meeting.

The real test is when the pandemic and its impacts start to diminish and some semblance of normal life resumes.

I believe we will not instantly ditch the tech and get right back into our cars or jump on trains to travel around the country to service clients.

While many advisers will relish getting back out there, some others will have become accustomed to having more time on their hands.

The critical question is: what will they do with this time?

For some, it will give them the time they need to get that Level 6 qualification — chartered status, something they have been thinking about for a few years.

For others, they may choose to simply spend more time with family.

What I get really excited about however, is it will undoubtedly mean advisers have more bandwidth to take on new clients, helping make advice more accessible, to more people.

Whatever the future holds as we come out of this pandemic, I believe decades of change have conditioned advisers to adapt and succeed. I am confident in advisers’ ability to do it again.

Scott Stevens is head of adviser recruitment and development for Quilter Financial Planning