Around one in two advisers initiated first contact with their clients when the COVID crisis began to unfold, with clients whose advisers were proactive reporting significantly higher satisfaction rates, new research has revealed.
According to Investment Trends’ 2020 Financial Advice Report, 49 per cent of advice clients said their advisers reached out first during the crisis, with 24 per cent saying they had to reach out themselves to hear from their adviser.
The report, which surveyed over 4,500 consumers, showed a link between proactive adviser-client communication and high adviser satisfaction, with those who heard from their adviser first expressing an average 73 per cent satisfaction with their adviser, versus 56 per cent satisfaction for those who had not.
“Most financial planners have proactively engaged with their clients during this period of volatile markets, and clients themselves acknowledge these efforts,” Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said.
“As the lockdowns persist, all planners must take the opportunity to engage more closely with their clients – through the most in-demand channels.”
Mr Choi noted that demand for face-to-face client meetings had decreased significantly since last year’s survey, with around a third of clients indicating they would still like regular in-person reviews, compared with 48 per cent in 2019.
The report also noted increasing demand for advice overall as a result of the crisis, with an estimated 2.5 million people planning to seek advice in the next 12 months, up from 2.1 million the year before.
In addition, consumers in the study responded positively to the idea of limited advice if it could be delivered more cost-effectively, Mr Choi said.
“Potential clients overwhelmingly prefer receiving comprehensive advice over limited advice – 76 per cent cite this versus 35 per cent – but when cost is factored in, preference for limited advice markedly increases,” he said.
“Still, there are opportunities to transition those who want limited advice to a holistic advice offering, since the vast majority of potential clients – 61 per cent – are open to upgrading to comprehensive advice over time.”
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