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Three quarters of advisers to return to office

Three quarters of advisers to return to office

The pandemic has seen advisers adapt successfully to new technologies, digital signatures and working from home but 75 per cent have now said they plan to return to the office in the months ahead.

Research carried out in June and July among 106 advice firms by Panacea Adviser showed 75 per cent will be going back to the office full-time or on a part-time basis post Covid-19, but not all (50 per cent) said they were looking forward to it. 

The pandemic had shifted the way advisers embraced technology and vast majority, 84 per cent, said the shift in working from home had seen them be equally or more productive.

But many still believed in the need for human contact and that face-to-face meetings were more productive. 

Meanwhile 11 per cent of advisers said there were business activities that were stopped because of Covid-19 which will not be picked up again.

But 83 per cent said they would go back to doing all the activities they had done before, such as travelling to visit clients.

When asked about external provider events, there was a more even split.

The research found 44 per cent of advisers stated they would go back to attending more face-to-face events whereas 45 per cent stated they would continue to view more webinars or not attend face-to-face events at all.

Of those who had taken the survey, 78 per cent said they had not had Covid-19 and for the 17 per cent that had, they said their mental health had not been affected. 

The survey also found that 61 per cent thought their mental health was and would remain the same as pre-covid.

Almost 70 per cent of advisers reported their business had either remained the same or had been positively impacted by the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of advisers said they have not noticed any change in a client’s attitude to risk since Covid-19 and 67 per cent of advisers predicted the economic outlook in the next 12 months would be positive.

In February, in an FTAdviser In Focus podcast, Myron Jobson, personal finance campaigner for Interactive Investor, said trends suggested investors were not mass fleeing the markets, despite the general feeling of vulnerability caused by Covid-19.

Similarly, Serena Van Der Meulen, director of Van Der Meulen Associates, said: "I was surprised by the lack of nervousness [among my clients] because the world felt nervous.

"I felt some of my newer investors might be more nervous but the main concerns seemed to be about their health and the world, rather than the usual things you might see in a turndown."

This was echoed by Mark Polson, principal and founder of the Lang Cat consultancy, who said: "As far as the world of advisers and planners is concerned, clients are doing what they are told. 

"Most firms have told us that while there are occasional wobbles, which is understandable, it is just business as usual."

sonia.rach@ft.com

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