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Quilter finds its clients prefer face-to-face advice

Quilter finds its clients prefer face-to-face advice
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Quilter's clients have a preference for face-to-face advice, according to research it carried out last month.

A March survey of almost 1,000 of the financial planning firm's clients found 53 per cent said they preferred face-to-face advice, compared to 47 per cent who would prefer remote advice.

But other financial advice firms have said they have seen no demand to return to previous working practices.

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The Quilter research also found a majority (85 per cent) thought the advice process was no more difficult remotely, with eight in 10 (82 per cent) finding it easy to use software for remote advice.

Four in five (80 per cent) also felt all their financial planning needs could be covered remotely.

Sarah Waring, client and proposition director at Quilter Private Client Advisers, said: “Our survey results show that for some people face-to-face financial advice is absolutely necessary, but for others there are aspects of the advice process which can be done virtually freeing up time for both them and their advisers.

“What is encouraging about these results is that not only has the advisory community managed to make remote advice work when there was no other option but have made it such a success that clients are more than happy to have remote in the future, when restrictions are no longer in place.”

Even though people aged 42 and over in England are currently being offered the coronavirus vaccine, David Forsdyke, an associate at Knight Frank Finance, said he had not seen the demand for face-to-face advice from equity release customers rise.

He said: “The average age of our client is around 75. I think what’s happened over the last 12 months is that everybody has got used to this world of using Zoom, Teams or another video platform.

“We’ve all got a lot more comfortable with it; I certainly have, and I get the impression a lot of my clients have.”

He added: “12 months ago when we were in the first lockdown, I think a lot of clients we spoke to were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t have a face-to-face meeting. They were expressing a preference for that.

“Nowadays when we speak to a new client on an initial conversation, they’re actually not too worried if we say to them, ‘we can do this via a video call or a series of video calls’. They seem to have got comfortable with it.”

Likewise Martin Brown, managing partner at Continuum, said he believed the industry would not return to traditional ways of working.

Brown said: “Why spend five hours in the car travelling to various households, when those five hours can be spent deepening client relations?”

He added: “Adviser productivity throughout the year increased and importantly, along with client feedback surveys carried out clearly demonstrates the value of this more efficient way of working.”

The national IFA further expanded its business into the home counties, Scotland, Wales and the South West with the recruitment of eight advisers.