Advisers are facing a tough time as a result of market uncertainty, and they have to manage this challenge while continuing to provide a service to their clients.
A recent study found many advisers expect market volatility to increase within the next 12 months, with almost half (45 per cent) of advisers expecting this outcome.
For those who made the list of FTAdviser’s Top 100 Financial Advisers this year, this headwind is far from the only question facing the sector.
The Fry Group, which came fourth this year, says the challenges it is dealing with include the current volatility in world markets and increased scrutiny on ensuring transparency in the sector, while pushing to maintain good returns and deliver high-quality advice.
The company says it is addressing these challenges by managing client expectations, fact-findingto uncover real-life concerns, and accurately grading attitude to and capacityfor risk.
David Pugh, the company’s chief commercial officer, says: “We work hard to ensure a constant focus on controls and quality of the advice process.
“We also maintain our focus on acquiring new clients through a concentrated marketing effort, whilst retaining our existing client base to develop every possible referral opportunity.”
Quilter Financial Planning, which came top this year following a transformational year for the business, says it has become even more challenging for advisers to explain how they add value to their clients and earn their fees.
Amid increased regulation and closer scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority, these companies are also trying to find ways they can become more efficient – technology being one major avenue.
Close Brothers Asset Management says it is investing heavily in its digital capability to offer clients more choice in the way they engage with the company.
Andy Cumming, head of advice at Close Brothers, says: “Investing in our digital capability also means we can offer a better service through making our processes more efficient and saving our clients time, especially when a client joins us.
“We continue to look at ways to help clients visualise their financial future – and we are developing tools to meet this goal.”
Meanwhile, the likes of Mazars has adapted its approach to technology and analytics through bringing an operations director into the business to help the company through challenges.
In a survey by the LangCat earlier this year, advisers were asked if the industry would be more efficient in five years time.
Almost two-thirds (70 per cent) said technology is expected to reduce workload, and just 30 per cent thought it would be much the same.
So it seems technology is going to play an even bigger role for advisers as they try to weather the storm of industry uncertainty and volatility in markets.
Another avenue that advisers will be looking to develop further will be ensuring wealth can be passed on down the generations.
As the nation’s inheritance tax bill climbs year-on-year, this is an opportunity for advisers to build deeper relationships with their clients and their families.