Research released last year by Kings Court Trust highlighted that a quarter of inheritance beneficiaries walk away from their parents’ or grandparents’ adviser, taking an average of £288,000 with them.
This is a big challenge for advisers, not least because we are currently experiencing a significant generational shift in client expectations.
Providers are here to support and, in my view, there are two things that will help advisers to tackle this challenge head on: better use of technology and a greater focus on providing exceptional experiences.
Technology will of course play an even greater role throughout the next decade and has the capability to become a valuable enabler to adviser businesses, helping them reach new customers quickly.
It can also help advisers provide clients with deeper insight and greater control over how their money is managed.
Younger generations are not just expecting more digital services, they are demanding more personalisation too.
The industry is already responding.
The platform market, for example, is evolving to deliver against specific client preferences in an environment where people are more concerned by the environmental and social impact of their investments.
Innovation like this must continue at pace if we want to help advisers engage with the next generation of customers.
So I believe we will see the development of new solutions that keep up with the changing lives of customers, delivered in tandem with the continued provision of quality advice.
Investment in automated services and digital advice solutions will increase industry capacity, democratise services usually reserved for the very wealthy and give a generation with increasingly complex financial needs cost-effective personal advice.
In line with this, we must also think about how we attract the right talent and skills to the industry.
Client-handling skills will always remain core, but there will also be a requirement to operate within a broader technology ecosystem.
Human advice on the most important decisions will remain key.
Ultimately, advisers sell peace of mind, helping clients through what are sometimes highly complex and critical financial decisions. These decisions not only shape their clients’ lives, but also the lives of children, grandchildren and extended family.
Technology can only ever go so far – people are not robots. When it comes to emotion and human nature, there is not an algorithm.
This is especially true when it comes to money.
It can sometimes explain why someone wants to put their nephew through university, give their entire estate to a cat and dog home, or spend every penny they have in their retirement pot by investing it in their local football team.
The role of the financial adviser in this scenario is not to make a judgement about the client’s choice, it is about understanding why, and helping them achieve their goal.
This is the essence of the advice market and why, regardless of advancements in the way people work, the importance of delivering great experiences will remain central to the industry.