How has the pandemic changed the way advisers use technology?

This article is part of
Guide to advice during the pandemic

“It’s an old technology – it’s an email or a mail merge technology – but we’ve been using it a lot more.

"Typically, we would just send out one newsletter every month, whereas in the past month we’ve sent out 13 newsletters, dependent on the type of client you are,” he explains.

Mr Ardron acknowledges that most firms have a website.

“But now we are seeing sites really come into their own, offering that added layer of contact, support and reassurance,” he notes.

“At SimplyBiz, we have seen a huge spike in the number of sites we are building for firms, and even more who are asking to add free guidance and news features to ensure clients have a reliable and readily available access point to check the current state of play.”

Mr Ardron continues: “I don’t think firms are changing how they use tech here as a direct result of the pandemic but they are certainly seeing its value, and I think it’s fair to say that tech is now running hand-in-hand with advice, and doing what it was always designed to do.”

On the other hand, Mr Dunne believes Covid-19 is an enormous catalyst for change.

“Since the start of lockdown, advisers have been rapidly using technologies so that they can keep delivering uninterrupted services to clients.

“Moving clients to electronic communications and documenting advice using systems such as Docusign has made it possible for advisers to carry on – in fact, many have been telling us they’re able to deal with clients more efficiently as a result,” he explains.

Time to talk?

But not all advisers are embracing the trend for video conferencing.

Mr Rooney says some advisers might be conducting meetings with clients over the phone.

“It’s a decision they’re taking instead of asking the client,” he notes, adding that this could be a “trap” advisers fall into if they are not confident about using the new technology themselves.

“Advisers might be putting psychological barriers up in their own minds instead of saying to their client, ‘if I send you the Zoom link it’s really easy – I can show you [what] I would have shown you if I was sat next to you in a room’.”

As to whether advisers’ clients adapt so well to meetings conducted via video calls that, in the future, they request this over a face-to-face meeting remains to be seen.

For advisers, the advantages seem to be numerous.

Mr Dunne says: “People have quickly realised the time savings that video meetings facilitate, and many advisers have been telling us they are able to deal with far more clients now that they have moved to video meetings and are saving time on travel.”