Advisers tipped to emerge from crisis stronger than ever

Advisers tipped to emerge from crisis stronger than ever

Advice companies will emerge from the coronavirus chaos in a position of strength, with a rising pipeline of new clients and more streamlined businesses, commentators have claimed. 

With the UK on lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, advisers have had to shift to remote business practices as well as dealing with concerned clients and sharp falls for risk assets.

But Charlie Parker, managing director Albemarle Street Partners, said the ultimate impact would be beneficial to the sector, as consumers become more cautious and financially savvy.

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“It should help advisers. I think the problem people have is that they never get round to paying for financial advice, because they always assume they will have income," he said.

“You have an older generation who always try to save everything — whether it be money or food — because they have the experience of not taking stuff for granted.

“This will happen again after going through this crisis. People will turn to advice. For those planners who are able to speak to the basics like savings and income protection, this could be a springboard.”

Last week FTAdviser reported that some brokers were predicting up to 30 per cent of the mortgage advice sector might struggle to survive the crisis. But the mood is more optimistic for those who provide a full-scale service.

Sarah Drakard, IFA at Cruze Financial Solutions, said: “There is definitely a huge opportunity here. As bad as it is, life will go on.

"We haven’t had a real life example of [preparing for] a ‘rainy day’ for a long time — and here it is.”

Advisers identified short-term and long-term consequences that could benefit both their businesses and the country's attitude to their finances.

Tim Harvey, director at HR Independent, predicted consumers would prioritise financial planning items on their to-do list such as “making a will or sorting out their pension”.

Nick Bird, business development manager at Octopus, said a greater use of technology would help intermediaries benefit from the intergenerational wealth transfer, which is set to “be the biggest opportunity for advisers” over the next 10 years.

“Advisers sometimes lose a clients’ assets when they pass because their children or inheritors don’t live nearby. But moving more remotely makes that redundant.

“It also makes advice more accessible. Some people are turned away from going to an office full of suits, but this helps advisers interact with people the way they want to be interacted with.

"Adviser time is precious. This will change the way we start to work.”

Others highlighted the possibility of strengthening relationships with existing clients. Both Ms Drakard and Mr Harvey singled out clients who had previously been reticent to use technology as part of the advice process.

Mr Harvey suggested advisers could speak to their clients more regularly throughout the year, alongside traditional face-to-face reviews.