At Quilter, 98 per cent of employees are now working from home – a huge shift from the way they worked pre-pandemic.
Ms Waring says everyone’s experience of this change has been different, with some finding it very challenging and others enjoying the additional flexibility and time that comes from not having to commute.
She adds: “As we progress out of the pandemic and some semblance of normality returns it would be foolish to simply return to the norm and fail to capture some of the positives that have come from this experience.”
Quilter’s advisers have also had to drastically change the way they advise their clients, with most moving to remote advice.
Although there were some teething problems – perhaps not surprising with such a large-scale change – a survey of advisers in Quilter’s national advice business found that 88 per cent of advisers would want to continue to provide some form of remote advice option, as the nation comes out of lockdown.
Ms Waring says: “Many advisers will jump at the chance to see their clients face-to-face again but are likely to choose a hybrid approach as for many the opportunity to do a proportion of client meetings over video frees up more time to take on additional clients or simply provides a better work/life balance.
“Across the wider advice sector, despite the inability to see clients face-to-face, both the value of advice and the demand for it has skyrocketed.”
Transformation already underway
Although, like many other businesses, Quilter had to make some big changes during the pandemic, prior to this it was already undergoing a transformation.
Last summer, the business acquired Lighthouse and was also just starting its new life as Quilter Financial Planning, following the rebrand from Intrinsic.
Ms Waring says: “Over the following months before the spotlight was really shining on the impacts of coronavirus, we completed the rebrand of the Charles Derby business to form Quilter Financial Advisers, which also includes Lighthouse Financial Advice and Lighthouse Mortgage and Protection Solutions.”
Over the past 12 months Quilter has also introduced a telephone-based advice service so savers who cannot take up face-to-face meetings can still get access to advice.
“This change is all part of our mission to improve access to financial advice,” Ms Waring adds.
“As part of this mission, we also made a number of changes to the Quilter Financial Adviser School to help more people move into the profession.”
This included the creation of a fast-track course, which enabled selected students to obtain their diploma over an intensive three month period, opposed to the standard part-time programme that takes 47 weeks.
Another big change in the business is that, in June, Steve Gazard was promoted to chief executive of Quilter Financial Planning.