Innovating in uncertain times

Innovating in uncertain times

We have all heard the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’.

But that is easier said than done in 2020 – a year that has thrown up many unexpected challenges.

A global pandemic, social unrest and Brexit looming over the nation’s head has made the likes of contingency planning, digital development and communication more important than ever for advisers in the UK.

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That is why the IFA community took part in the Smarter Business Summit earlier this month to discover the latest skills, practices and insights needed to build a resilient and successful advisory business for the long term.

The virtual event was hosted by FTAdviser and sponsored by Charles Stanley to offer advisers a unique opportunity to reflect on how the industry can innovate in a new age of disruption.

An innovative way that financial advisers can secure longevity is by successful intergenerational planning.

Key Points

  • Intergenerational planning has become much more important
  • Clients should be feeling much more aware of the value of advice
  • Technology is no substitute for good people skills

John Porteous, group head of distribution at Charles Stanley, said advisers can optimise their businesses for successful intergenerational planning by encouraging clients to have powerful conversations with their families.

This comes after its research in February found that only one in five UK adults talked openly about inheritance.

He said: “What we have heard from clients and those who advised clients over the course of two lockdowns is that there is a re-emerging of the art of conversation and an inward examination of the ‘what ifs’ around our own sense of vulnerability.

“Financial planning has a symbiotic relationship with uncomfortable truths and a skilled practitioner will bring these to the surface and put in place a proper action plan that will really resonate with clients.

“Powerful conversations are driven by questions, not statements or assumptions. Precision and tone of questioning is at the heart of this. Better questions allow for better answers, which in turn drive better financial planning outcomes.

“When we asked the wider professional advice market – accountants and solicitors – what they have changed during lockdown to help clients deal with their intergenerational discussions, the answers were unanimous: we have become better listeners.

He commented the elephant in the room was that we all look at money through our own unique lens. The issues are universal but conversations must be uniquely personal.

He said: “I don’t believe the intergenerational discussion is easy, but once bridged by a skilled practitioner, I think it is highly rewarding. Not only is this a commercially significant market but a rewarding one that can help you expand your practice and put down stronger roots through your client bank.”

Engaging with future generations

Building relationships with the next generation of clients will be the key to success, according to Giles Dunning.