Nearly eight out of 10 IFAs view the internet as an opportunity, not a threat, according to new research for BT.
The survey by Prodata of 50 IFAs, 10 financial service providers and 200 consumers found that 94 per cent of IFAs have had no negative effects from internet-based entrants. Only 2 per cent say they have lost customers. But 15 per cent are worried about losing personal contact with customers.
IFAs say the main competition is between one another and from high-street mortgage providers rather than new direct methods, including the internet. But providers are convinced that e-business will hit intermediaries, claiming consumers see them as expensive.
BT believes this increased consumer awareness and use of the internet will weed out “technophobic” intermediaries who are slow to exploit e-business or who are seen by customers as expensive.
BT Finance Ind ustry Solutions head of marketing Steve Rathborne says: “The research demonstrates the power and influence of the internet. IFAs must buy into new technology if they are to keep their position. Those who do will reap the benefits and cope with price transparency and the widespread availability of information offered by the internet.”
Berry Birch & Noble dir ector Hazel Montague says: “The internet is very important and has a key part to play in our market. Our strategy is to combine the internet with face-to-face advice to give our customers a choice.”