Fairstone Group  

Fairstone moves to remote advice post crisis

Fairstone moves to remote advice post crisis
 Lee Hartley, chief executive of Fairstone, wants to ensure the 'highest standard' of service

Consolidator Fairstone has launched a remote advice service in response to client demand for virtual meetings in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

The virtual service, named ZETO in a play on the words zero touch, is designed to remove the need for clients and advisers to interact in person in a move which, Fairstone claimed, would provide a "safe and efficient" experience. 

The launch follows research conducted by the advice firm which found 88 per cent of consumers would be happy to conduct virtual meetings with their advisers, with 73 per cent stating interactive video conferencing was their preferred method.

The remote service will allow clients to see their adviser using Microsoft Teams and provides a screen sharing function which is using Adobe Sign to allow e-signatures. 

Lee Hartley, chief executive at Fairstone, said the company was still deciding how much of its business was to be delivered using the remote service.

Mr Hartley said: "While face-to-face and direct contact with clients will always remain at the core of our business, technology can allow advisers to work more efficiently and spend more time with clients.

"Championing a new innovative world of working, which seamlessly combines first-class remote and real-life practices, will enable us as a firm to embrace the best of both worlds.

"Our aim is to engage with clients in a secure and sustainable way to ensure we maintain the highest standard of service."

The advice boss said the move incorporated "lessons and best practice" learned whilst working from home throughout lockdown and allowed for all aspects of a face-to-face meeting to be delivered virtually.  

Fairstone also surveyed its own advisers on the launch, revealing a demand for a mixture of both face-to-face and remote meetings. 

The research also found advisers favoured certain aspects of working remotely such as encouraging a more effective use of time and greater capacity to spend time with clients alongside an improved work-life balance. 

Earlier this month Fairstone told FTAdviser it had planned a three-phase return to the office, with about 20 per cent of staff in the first group to return to the office at the beginning of August. 

The advice company said it had “no immediate plans” to resume face-to-face meetings with clients, instead continuing with virtual meetings.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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