In March this year, Sesame Bankhall launched a wellbeing service for advisers as part of a wider support hub, and then in May a ‘bounce back’ hub. To date, the sites have been viewed 38,000 times by financial advisers.
The wellbeing service contains tips to help advisers and their customers to stay physically and mentally healthy, while the hubs provide advisers with practical information and tools to help companies trade safely and look after their staff and customers through the pandemic.
Meanwhile, an online personal counselling service rolled out by Quilter in July has received more than 1,500 visits to the website and has more than 900 users.
The top searched-for subjects in the ‘ask a therapist’ service, launched in partnership with app-based Spill, are: anxiety, sleep, burnout, stress and relationships – while a live webcast for advisers on supporting mental health saw in excess of 100 attendees.
In an unprecedented year, advisers are not just dealing with anxious clients, but also their own fears over business challenges and mental and physical health.
So, how is the industry as a whole responding to take care of its own?
“Overall, the financial services industry has responded well to the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of adapting to home working and an appreciation of the pressures that many people face in juggling their home life and work commitments,” says Michele Golunska, chief executive of Sesame Bankhall Group.
- Both advisers and clients are dealing with pressures on their mental health
- Working remotely has not always been good for people's mental health
- Advisers have not always opened up about their mental health
But challenges vary widely, given age range and individual personal circumstances of a typical workforce.
Ms Golunska says product providers have told her the level of claims due to mental health issues have gone up, which is perhaps to be expected given the higher levels of stress people are suffering from in this period.
“Therefore, if more of our customers are dealing with mental health issues, then it’s likely that people working in our profession will be dealing with these same issues,” she adds.
“The simple reality is that anyone can go through a period of challenge with their mental health, particularly given the extraordinary events of this year.”
Financial advisers are just one business community among many in the UK, who have the same personal and business concerns as everyone else.
However, what sets advisers apart is that they are looking after their customers too through this challenging time.
More advisers have been working remotely due to the coronavirus crisis, which itself can pose challenges for how advice companies operate.
“Through the pandemic, financial advisers are facing increased demands and workload, while needing to remain calm to support their clients through major financial and life events,” says Jane Goodland (pictured), corporate affairs director at Quilter.
“There is concern among the adviser community over the impact of the current pandemic on the future sustainability of their businesses. These pressures have the real potential to amplify anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, as an industry we have not tackled the mental health problem straight on.