Majority of clients happy to recommend adviser

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Majority of clients happy to recommend adviser

More than three quarters (86 per cent) of clients with a financial adviser said they would recommend them, according to research from Oxford Risk.

The study, which asked 180 adults who use a financial adviser or wealth manager, found clients had a high level of awareness of the new consumer duty rules, with one in three (33 per cent) stating they were aware of the upcoming regulation from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Despite this, the research, conducted by independent research company Viewsbank between March 30 and April 5, found nearly one in five (19 per cent) of clients are not clear on what good customer outcomes are.

Meanwhile 24 per cent said they do not agree their adviser is clear on good customer outcomes, which is one of the key aims of the consumer duty.

The new consumer duty, which has a deadline of July 31 for implementation, aims to increase consumer protection and promote fair practices in the financial services market requiring firms to act in good faith towards retail customers, avoid foreseeable harm, and enable and support customers to pursue their financial objectives.

However, Oxford Risk said the heightened awareness of the new standards on products and services, price and value, consumer support and consumer understanding turns up the pressure on advisers to further enhance standards.

James Pereira-Stubbs, chief client officer, Oxford Risk said: “Advisers are clearly doing a very good job, but there an even higher bar to clear now and awareness of consumer duty rules will mean firms which do not measure up could lose business.

“Consumer duty emphasises the importance for advisers of achieving a robust understanding of clients at the start of a relationship. 

“This in turn will help inform what good outcomes look like for investors and how they can personalise their service offering based on deep behavioural insights. This will help advisers meet both the letter of the new consumer duty and also the spirit in which the FCA is introducing this new regulation.”

The research showed 87 per cent of clients agree their advisers support them in reaching their financial objectives, but that high level of satisfaction drops slightly to 81 per cent when clients were asked whether their advisers understand them.

It drops further to 78 per cent when they were asked whether advisers act to prevent foreseeable harm which is another key objective of consumer duty rules.

Oxford Risk believes that while the research shows advisers are scoring highly, they will need to work harder to deliver on the new tougher standards of the upcoming consumer duty, and in particular to understand non-financial objectives such as client attitudes on sustainable investing.