Use of technology in lockdown 'sets new baseline' for advice


The growing use of technology during lockdown has set a "new baseline" for what clients will expect from their advisers, it has been claimed.

Speaking on the FTAdviser Podcast, Russell Andrews, head of solutions at SEI, said clients have adapted to the new ways of working advisers have had to use and that it was important the profession recognised this.

He said: "What it has done is it has created a new baseline, it has set a new floor, for what is available and what clients are now going to expect in terms of flexibility.

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"People want options. If they've got a really complex situation, they may still want to sit down in a room and go through it in detail and get the comfort through that physical interaction but if it is a more simplified piece of advice or something more administrative, people don't want the hassle of having to invite an adviser into their home or even travel to an office."

Mr Andrews was joined on the podcast by Daniel Harrison, chief executive of True Potential, who agreed about the lockdown setting "new expectations".

He said: "There will be some real winners that come out of this in terms of advisers, if they were already ready to hit the ground running or very quickly improved or innovated.

"It could be that the 'new normal' could be that you meet a brand new client face-to-face and you start to build that empathy with body language, you look at one another, sit across the desk and stare your adviser in the whites of the eyes.

"But once you get to know that adviser then maybe the new normal becomes a call [via video conferencing] maybe every three months, six months or 12 months."

The podcast also covered how advisers had handled the transition into lockdown, the regulatory burdens of using technology to a greater extent and what the future had in store for advisers.

Mr Harrison said clients had evolved and while True Potential used to regularly hear that clients "weren't interested" in tools such as portals this was not in fact the case.

He said: "All of the stats we looked at behind the scenes completely contradicted that. If you give clients access to it, if you give clients the technology and the means they consume it.

"Long gone are the days when too many people aren't comfortable with technology."

Mr Andrews added: "The industry has shown great resilience in the last few months to adapt to a virtual world in such short order.

"They have also been fortunate in some respects that clients themselves seem to have evolved and had we been through a scenario like we have been in for the last three or four months some years ago then I think we'd have found advisers struggling much much more."

You can listen to the full podcast through the video on this page. The FTAdviser Podcast is also available on Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.