In focus: advisers on new business challenges

3 min read 18 Jan 21

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There’s understandably been a lot of conversation about how the financial advice profession has adapted to the so-called ‘new world’ of work thrust upon us, almost overnight, when the coronavirus lockdown measures were first introduced.

Advisers rose to the challenge with inspiring examples of how firms doubled down on communicating with and reassuring clients, engaging with them in new ways using technology. And, all the while supporting their staff and the wider business in unprecedented times. But, it’s often impossible to keep all plates spinning at once. While so much of 2020 was about knuckling down and protecting business, it’s unsurprising that engaging new clients took a hit last year as a result, according to the lang cat’s State of the Adviser Nation report.

The survey of 562 advice professionals, carried out between September and October, found that almost 90% of respondents were feeling positive about doing more remote working for existing clients going forward. However, just under 60% also said that engaging new clients had been ‘significantly harder’ as a result of covid-19 and that they were not optimistic as they headed into winter.

There are many reasons why the pandemic made it harder for advisers to engage new clients. Building relationships from scratch over technology might not feel anywhere near as personal and natural as holding that all-important first meeting in person. And many people will also have faced financial uncertainty during 2020 as a result of covid, which perhaps made them feel it wasn’t an ideal time to seek financial advice.

That was then and this is now…

Although the pandemic isn’t behind us just yet, over the coming months we’re going to explore directly with advisers  if and how their outlook and approach to attracting new clients has changed, now that we start to see some light at the end of the covid tunnel.

There are answers out there for anyone facing the conundrum of how to grow a business. Indeed, 19% of respondents in the lang cat’s survey said new business hadn’t been a problem, while 23% sat on the fence. Both these answers could suggest that there are ways to effectively embed a virtual approach for new clients, or to base new business more on referrals.

In the next few months we’ll share the good-practice tips and experience we uncover as we talk to firms about how they’re making new business work.