Innovating in uncertain times

The partner and M&A financial services specialist at Stephens Scown, flagged up the importance of engaging the young – both by recruiting young staff and engaging with younger clients.

He said: “Let young graduates know what a great career being a chartered financial planner can be – really make something of that. I don’t think enough of that has been done to bring new blood into the profession. Bring in advisers who can engage and empathise with clients – particularly the younger generation as they become more prevalent within the client demographic.

“Why not engage with younger family members earlier on and challenge the perception that there’s an advice gap for younger people who are not yet high-net-worth individuals.

“Connecting with them earlier on will pay dividends further down the line. We hear much about the great wealth transfer with many trillions of pounds being transferred from one generation to the next.

“In the next 10 to 15 years, companies should make sure they are well-placed to capitalise on that by really engaging with the next generation.”

However, he added that tapping into younger people means new challenges as young people are more likely to shop around for a better deal, compared with older generations, who make more loyal customers.

Youngsters are not the only untapped goldmine. In fact, Jane Portas, co-founder of Insuring Women’s Futures, said advisers must start leveraging the opportunity in advising women.

She said: “I know many advisers comment on how important it is to engage with couples but there are still very big gender gaps. So there’s a lot of opportunity to support levelling up with clients and supporting the life decisions, not just the money decisions.

“At the moment women have less linear life journeys, but in the future, we are all going to have non-linear life journeys, so we can learn a lot through engaging with women and how we can support all clients in the future.”

Promotion pays

Another way IFAs can increase their clients’ base is by widening the small pool of people who use an adviser. Phil Bray, founder and director of The Yardstick Agency, said this can be done by promoting the benefits of the industry.

He said: “Research from Boring Money showed that only 9 per cent of adults in the UK have a financial adviser, so that is at a real macro level. It’s clear that for the majority of people that financial planning isn’t a thing.

“But I want 2021 to be the year we show the benefits of financial planning. Get your propositions right, and then start to shout about it though client stories, client videos, online reviews, engage with journalists locally, and social media has got a massive part to play.