Coronavirus to fast-track digital revolution

Coronavirus to fast-track digital revolution

Advisers have been urged to embrace digitalisation and plug the generational client gap that could emerge on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

The economic upheaval triggered by the global Covid-19 crisis has forced many UK adults to reconsider their financial plans and, according to exclusive data provided to FTAdviser by Quilter, the renewed demand for advice is expected to be largely driven by the younger generations.    

An April survey of 1,000 adults conducted by the advice giant found 86 per cent of young adults had sought help and information about the financial impact of the pandemic.

Social media was the second most popular source, at 29 per cent, for 18 to 30-year-olds – bested only by the use of websites.

And while it dropped to the fourth most popular source for 30 to 45-year-olds, still nearly a quarter said they would turn to social media for help with their finances.

The data showed an overwhelming demand for advice in the youngest generation, with only 14 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds reporting they were not looking for any extra help regarding their finances in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In contrast, 51 per cent of respondents in the over 60s category said they were not looking for further financial information, tending to favour newspapers, advisers and websites if they did.

Scott Stevens, director of adviser recruitment and development at Quilter Financial Planning, said: “Young adults aged 18-30 and those with established careers and young families in the 30-45 age bracket are both deeply concerned about the financial impact of Covid-19.

“Many of them are looking for help and information, and they are turning to websites, and social media.

“Traditional sources of information like newspapers or the real-world social network of friends and family are still important, but they aren’t the first port of call for younger people.”  

Generational separation

Mr Stevens said the data revealed a “clear generational separation” in relation to lead generation for advisers, who must “go digital” to take full advantage of the new wave of client demand.

He added: “Young people are indicating a desire to receive professional advice in the future, so for financial advice companies it is important that when they think about engaging the next generation of clients they are accessible and present online.

“Young professionals and families today are the investors and retirees of tomorrow. Advisers must adapt quickly to digital transformation, boost their social media presence and ensure the customer experience they offer is smooth and accessible for those that have grown up with information at their fingertips online.”

The impact of the global pandemic on the UK economy is clear, with the latest government figures showing 8.4m jobs have been furloughed since the crisis began and claims worth £6.8bn paid out under the chancellor’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Phil Bray, founder and director at The Yardstick Agency, said it was only natural the millions of workers furloughed or facing an uncertain future as a result of Covid-19 would look online for information that could help them understand the effect of the crisis on their finances.