Spring is a wonderful time for new growth as the trees blossom and flowers emerge to brighten even the smallest of gardens. So what better time could there be to look at the positive opportunities emerging to grow the number of financial advisers available to serve consumers and increase their effectiveness?
The reality is that the demand for good-quality financial advice continues to increase, and it is almost impossible to find an adviser who is not busy. Indeed, I speak to firms every day who invariably tell me they have hardly enough time to deal with the demand from their existing clients, let alone look after new ones.
Fortunately, help is in on the way in the shape of the continuing march of technology, and a breakthrough in attracting new blood into this great profession.
In my view, technology for financial advisers is not about robo-advice, but rather capitalising on three key strategic opportunities. First, more effective two-way communication with clients and prospects, second, timesaving back-office processes and third, cost-effective and profitable client servicing.
There are literally hundreds of firms signing up to ‘next-generation’ websites, which can enhance each of these three key strategic elements of their practices for barely the price of a cup of coffee per week.
Over time, this technology will enable clients and prospective clients to have easy access to two-way communication with their adviser, enabling routine work and servicing to be delivered online, while retaining the personal touch and relationships that sets advisers apart from the world of robots and algorithms.
We can also see the numbers of advisers increasing thanks to the news that the not-for-profit New Model Business Academy (NMBA) has been given direct accreditation by the Skills Funding Agency. This will enable the NMBA to launch a UK-wide apprenticeship scheme for paraplanners and financial advisers, demonstrating the government’s practical support for financial advice to consumers. it will give firms of every size the chance to cost effectively grow the number of advisers. To emphasise the value of this scheme, if only 10 per cent of firms took on an apprentice it could soon add more than 1,500 financial advisers to our sector.
With spring in the air, I am optimistic that the combination of technology and adviser growth is going to give every adviser’s business the opportunity to blossom.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz