How can advisers build their business in the remote working era?

This article is part of
Guide to advice after the pandemic

According to Ian McKenna, the dissatisfaction over some providers' capability or lack of, has reached a point where advisers are far less forgiving to those companies that have not been able to adapt quickly.

Mr McKenna says: “Indeed even advisers who historically have taken a fairly traditional approach are now demanding change. 

“You only have to look at the extent to which things like electronic signatures [are being accepted]. Suddenly all sorts of different ways of getting signatures have become available to platforms, when the option was: 'If you don’t take the e-signature there will be no new business'. People are taking those decisions in weeks, where they may have historically taken months.”

“Providers who cannot adapt to the way new advisers need to work are going to see their new business volumes reduce significantly, because, all of a sudden your ability to operate digitally and in a remote environment is crucial.”

Scott Gallacher, director at Rowley Turton, adds: "Because a lot of the providers are accepting e-signatures, it is going to make life better. It is one of those things that until you start using those systms, you do not think about.

"The idea of printing off the form, putting it in an envelope, sending it by post, then it is sent to the provider by paper - it is absolutely instant now with an e-doc. You can do it while on the phone and depending on the provider, I can upload it the same day.

"Once this is over, I cannot see that being reversed. I cannot see clients, advisers and providers wanting to reverse it."

At what has been a challenging time, it is not only advisers who are thinking about the impact of the crisis on their business models. The FCA is too.

It recently launched a review into how advisers have responded to the crisis, to find out how resilient firms have been.

Mr Deeks says there are three key considerations to note when considering how advisers have responded to this pandemic.

While the specifics of the review are not clear, it will likely cover firms’ financial, operational and commercial resilience. 

Mr Deeks adds: “This means that alongside ensuring that firms hold sufficient capital and have been able to continue to operate appropriately, the FCA may also assess whether business models, associated propositions, processes and procedures all still deliver good outcomes after this period. 

“The generally accepted view is that the sector has responded well – however, firms will need to do their own learning from this crisis, and the FCA’s findings will help them to benchmark themselves and take advantage of other good practices to build a more robust and customer-centric business.”