Committing ideas to print, or online, can be a very dangerous game, especially when it comes to attempting to forecast the future.
So, it was with more than a little trepidation that I recently reread an article I had written just 10 days before last December’s general election.
It was entitled ‘2020 Vision’ and in it I attempted to forecast the future opportunities, and challenges, for financial advisers in the coming year.
While I got the result of the election and Brexit right I, of course, completely missed the most significant event of 2020, that of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Though unheard of in early December, just six weeks later it was starting its deadly journey across the world.
Nonetheless, in terms of thinking ahead I can claim that, at least at SimplyBiz, we were already into contingency planning for Covid-19 as early as mid-February.
What I did not realise when I said these words, however, was how accurate some of my other financial services predictions would be.
The most spectacular of these concerned the use of virtual technology to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and profitability of financial advisers: ‘I believe that the use of FaceTime and similar systems has reached a tipping point that is going to explode in 2020. Clients readily chat to their children, grandchildren and friends on FaceTime; why would they not find it a good way to communicate with their financial adviser?’
Clearly the explosion in the use of virtual technology has been boosted dramatically by the lockdown.
While this increase was already building, the pandemic has advanced its wider adoption by about five years.
The question all financial advisers must now ask themselves is: Have I advanced my thinking about the way I serve my clients clients, and the technology with which I serve them, by five years during the past six months?
If the answer to this question is no, I urge you to address it as a matter of urgency. If you do not, there is a real danger that you are being left behind by your clients, but will not find out until it is too late.
Again, I urge you to let technology take the strain by helping you serve more clients more effectively; if you do, I predict that within two years you just might find you have doubled both your client satisfaction and your income.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group