Advice industry powers on with more clients and greater efficiency, says intelliflo
A year on since the UK was first placed in full national lockdown, advisers report an increase in clients, acceleration of technology adoption, greater efficiencies, and more confidence in growth for 2021, according to new research from intelliflo’s second annual Advisory Business Impact Poll.
Rise in the number of clients
When asked about the biggest changes they’ve observed over the last 12 months, 48 per cent of adviser firm employees reported an increase in the number of clients.
For more than a third (38 per cent) of respondents, technology enabled them to service clients in different locations over the last year, signalling the power of technology in customer acquisition.
The future looks bright for the industry, as 53 per cent of advisers believe there will be more new clients seeking advice, compared to just 3 per cent who think there will be less. The future looks bright for consumers too, as 70 per cent of advisers think their clients’ personal finances have improved during the pandemic, compared to just 4 per cent who believe they’ve worsened.
Tech adoption continues to accelerate
Comparing this year’s findings to intelliflo’s inaugural Advisory Business Impact Poll in April 2020, the results show how far advisers have come in adopting technology. Last April, one in four (42 per cent) had adopted technologies that they planned to implement permanently – this is now almost one in seven (67 per cent). One third (32 per cent) had adopted new technologies that were enabling them to become more efficient – this is now two thirds (64 per cent).
Furthermore, when asked what their business has been able to improve on over the last 12 months, better adoption of technology with employees (65 per cent) and better adoption of technology by clients (60 per cent) came out on top.
In addition to the poll, intelliflo’s data shows Personal Finance Portal users increased by 85 per cent between January 2020 and January 2021. Over the same period, the number of documents sent via DocuSign leapt by 1,608 per cent.
Challenges of today
Last year, intelliflo’s Advisory Business Impact poll 2020 revealed advisers’ top concerns for the year ahead were maintaining relationships with clients (42 per cent), reduced level of business (40 per cent), and navigating market uncertainty (37 per cent). However, intelliflo’s 2021 poll shows that these fears haven’t been fully realised. For instance, while 40 per cent of advisers were concerned about a reduced level of business in April 2020, today, 9 per cent report this as a challenge.
Instead, the greatest challenges today include staying abreast of changing rules and regulation (35 per cent) and time management (32 per cent). As advisers look ahead to the next six months, these remain the top concerns.
Nick Eatock, CEO of intelliflo, comments: “These findings bring some much-welcomed positive news for the advice profession, following a highly uncertain period. When we spoke to advisers last year, they were understandably cautious and nervous of what lay ahead but, a year on, advisers have proved themselves to be resilient and quick at adapting to fit their customers’ needs.
“Clearly, technology has made the last year easier, with businesses being able to quickly move to the virtual world. In doing so, advisers are finding greater efficiencies and new uses of technology that are helping their business grow. We look forward to seeing this continue as we move forward in a new era for financial advice.”