In an industry that relies on relationships and rapport, establishing a social media following has helped one adviser cultivate clients before meeting them one-to-one.
Speaking at FTAdviser’s flagship conference yesterday (September 22) Emmanuel Asuquo, senior partner at Belvedere Wealth Management, said: “Where social media has helped me is that, I don’t have to sell to my clients.
“They’ve already bought into me. They already follow me, they already know me. In fact, it’s a joy just to have a meeting with me, like ‘Oh, I can’t believe it’s actually you!’”
At Asuquo’s firm, being online has also made advice more accessible. “We want to try make sure that advice is given to everyone; that anyone that wants to invest can get advice, which is difficult, obviously, with time and so forth.
“So we’ve recently partnered with [online advice and investment platform] JustFA to try and get everything in one. The client can do a bit more of the heavy lifting, rather than us having to do everything ourselves. And clients are happy to do that, at a lower fee. So it helps both of us, because we know as advisers that the advice gap is just getting bigger.
“It’s great to say, ‘I want a client that has £100,000’; but coming from the kind of backgrounds we’ve come from, how do you get to £100,000 without someone giving you the advice on how to be better with £1,000 or £10,000, and so on.
“If we all run away from them, the gap just gets bigger and so for us, it’s really important to have the technology to allow us to support people from those types of communities.”
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Also on the panel was Sam Secomb, founder and CEO of Women’s Wealth, which she described as a virtual business that meets clients ‘screen-to-screen’.
Secomb said using technology made “being there” with clients easier, and likewise cited cost as an advantage of incorporating technology into her business model.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do what we do, at the price we do it, without the technology that’s helping us deliver it,” she said.
Another benefit of running a virtual business, said Secomb, was the environmental effects.
“I think we definitely don’t pollute the air so much with travel to clients… it is unusual for us to be out in person, to the point where we don’t have business cards anymore. Everything’s virtual, and I think that is environmentally friendly.”
With Secomb and Asuquo both using technology to make advice more accessible, Derek Smith, head of technology at Morningstar Wealth Platform, which sponsored the panel, likewise highlighted the opportunity to use technology to reach people who had not yet engaged with an adviser.
Citing a figure that only 7 per cent of people in the UK had sought advice, Smith said: “You guys have got 93 per cent to go after. As you said, you’re starting to use technology to try and lower the cost. I think look at those opportunities.