Friday Highlight  

Keep up with client preferences or get left behind

Keep up with client preferences or get left behind
(Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

New seismic shifts are reshaping the world in which we live. The financial advice sector is part of the flux and at a pivotal mark in its constant evolution.

By embracing these latest drivers of change, firms within the industry can be a positive – and profitable – social and environmental force.

We can help individuals, households, businesses, organisations, charities and economies become stronger, bigger and more resilient.

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By transforming and adapting to these evolutionary factors we can actively enhance the financial sector and our shared human experience.

As the world moved on from the pandemic, that forced us to re-evaluate everything and face new realities.

The industry is at a crossroads as we are presented with unique opportunities to take the drivers of change ‘by the horns’.

I believe the advisers who move early to meet and respond to the fundamental shifts will be best-positioned to serve their clients’ changing wants, needs and behaviours, to create new revenue streams, and have the competitive edge.

What are these forces?

Tech, without doubt, will play an increasingly dominant role in the delivery of financial services. Last April, deVere reported the use of fintech apps has increased more than 61 per cent since the pandemic started in March 2020.

At the time, I told the media: “I will be surprised if those new users of fintech will ever go back to traditional methods of accessing, using and managing their money.” I have not been surprised.

The jump in usage underscores that people are becoming more tech-savvy than ever. Like never before, we are embracing the convenience of immediate, low-cost access to and management of money.

Besides fintech apps, blockchain, artificial intelligence and data aggregation solutions, among other innovations, are likely to be key tech tools used to help better understand and serve clients.

Rules and responsibilities 

Regulation will be another important driver of change.

We expect heightened levels of regulatory divergence between jurisdictions.

This will be attributable to more protectionism around the world.  

As such, advisers will be increasingly required to be up to speed with complex regulatory regimes of many countries in order to work with clients who have overseas assets and interests.

Operational models will also evolve, with more and more of the larger firms becoming one-stop shops that offer not only advice but products, such as insurance and investments, and services, such as retail banking.

Corporate responsibility is going to become ever-more important too.

Firms who put their environmental, social and governance obligations front and centre of their decision-making are the ones that will outperform in terms of attracting clients – they will demand responsibility and accountability, technology, innovation, regulation, and recruiting and retaining top talent.

Societal and economic shifts, tech developments, and client and regulatory expectations continue to evolve.

It is up to firms to embrace the evolution or not.

Those that face a bright future are those that can deliver personalised and socially responsible financial services like never before.