Remote working to become a permanent reality for more than half of financial advisers, says Intelliflo

Working from home

More than half (53 per cent) of adviser firm employees are set to work remotely – wholly or in part – in the long term, according to Intelliflo’s ‘Future of the Office’ poll, which looks at the changing ways of working in the advice industry. 

The poll found that 59 per cent have not yet returned to the office in any capacity, and by the end of the year, a quarter (25 per cent) will still not have stepped back into the office. This comes after advisers and support staff have transformed their ability to work remotely over the last six months, with 84 per cent saying that they are now fully optimised to work from home compared to 47 per cent prior to the pandemic.

 
Many firms are now re-evaluating their spend on an office space within their budgeting plans as three-quarters (76 per cent) would rather see their firm allocate budget elsewhere – 42 per cent would rather see more spend on technology than an office space, a third (34 per cent) would rather keep more cash reserves, and a fifth (20 per cent) would rather spend is allocated towards employee wellbeing. More than one in ten (13 per cent) already expect to either downsize or remove their office space entirely.
 
When asked about how remote working will benefit advisers, more client time was a clear theme. By not commuting, respondents have been saving an average of 60 minutes per day – time that more than half (52 per cent) of advisers spend with clients instead. In addition, more than a third (38 per cent) believe they will benefit from being able to target more clients nationwide.
 
When asked about broader industry changes brought on by remote working, 43 per cent of respondents expect that this will increase diversity in the industry.
 
More than a third (36 per cent) of advisers agreed that they would consider permanently adjusting their service proposition – such as providing a virtual advice service – to suit the increasingly online world. Some expect that the cost savings from operating remotely will put a downward pressure on fees, and a number of respondents commented that this is a cost effective way to service more low income clients.
 
The poll showed that 89 per cent of clients are satisfied or very satisfied by being serviced remotely and, according to Intelliflo data, clients have continued to make better use of technology to stay on top of their finances at home. Logins to Intelliflo’s Personal Finance Portal, a tool which allows clients to view financial information and interact via a secure online hub, increased by 383 per cent between February and June this year.
 
Nick Eatock, CEO of Intelliflo, says: “It’s important that advisers have the flexibility to choose a way of working that benefits them and their clients, and technology is a crucial enabler of this. It’s encouraging to see from our data that the adoption of technology is up from both advisers and their clients, with almost four times as many clients logging into their portal now compared with earlier this year. We’re expecting this to mark a permanent shift in the way that advisers operate in the future. Advisers can now reap the benefits of working remotely, helping them to become more agile and efficient without comprising on the value they deliver to their clients.”