VouchedFor  

VouchedFor sees 20% lockdown boost in membership

VouchedFor sees 20% lockdown boost in membership

VoucherFor saw its membership jump by 20 per cent during lockdown, with the adviser directory stating prospective clients spent 'far longer' reading adviser profiles amid the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus.  

The number fully verified advisers on VouchedFor, and therefore using one of its two paid-for memberships, increased by 437 to 2637 since the beginning of March. 

Alex Whitson, managing director at VouchedFor, attributed much of the growth to consumers looking for more reassurance in the quality of their adviser amidst the uncertainty created by pandemic.

He also warned circumstances now meant it was "harder for advisers to build trust in person". 

According to VouchedFor people spent 61 per cent longer looking at profiles on its site between March and July this year than in comparison with the same period the previous year. 

Mr Whitson said: "Reading reviews, looking at checks and qualifications and doing due diligence is forming part of a growing trend.

"People want as much useful information as possible to help them decide which adviser to work with. Even if the adviser they are considering was originally recommended by a friend.

"In response, encouragingly, more advisers are making more information available to people researching them online. This includes client and prospect reviews, qualifications and fee structures."

In the two months of June and July this year, 9,603 client reviews were posted on VouchedFor - an increase of more than 200 per cent on the 3,073 posted during the same period in 2019. 

Mr Whitson added: "Good advisers have never been so highly valued by their clients.

"If you read some of these reviews it’s clear that clients have really valued having an expert by their side during all the recent uncertainty."

Last year VouchedFor moved to step up its spot checks on adviser reviews left by clients in a bid to stamp out fraudulent activity on the site.

Whilst spot checks of some level had always been part of the site’s review verification, alongside the use of algorithms, the crackdown saw VouchedFor begin randomly asking advisers for evidence that a reviewer was a client. 

In one case the checks saw an adviser removed from the platform as, according to Mr Whitson, he was "unwilling or unable to provide evidence that the reviewer was a client".

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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